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The Rise Of Teenage Pregnancies


Friday, February 27th, 2009 The Rise Of Teenage Pregnancies

For the first time in seven years there has been a significant increase in pregnancies among girls under 16 according to an article by John Bingham of the Telegraph (26 02 09).

Moreover the number of abortions also increased in relation to the under 16’s by 6.4%.

The Office for National Statistics carried out the research. Government targets were set to halve the number of girls under 18 getting pregnant and those said targets are now at risk being missed.

It comes amid the outcry over 13-year-old Alfie Patten, the schoolboy from Hailsham, East Sussex, who is said to be the father of his 15-year-old girlfriend Chantelle Stedman’s daughter, Maisie Roxanne, who was born earlier this month.

It will be pertinent to look at the evidence more closely. The under-18 conception rate increased from 40.9 per 1,000 women in 2006 to 41.9 in 2007 - the first such increase since 2002.

There were 7.8 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged under 16 in 2006, rising to 8.3 per 1,000 girls in the year.

Nearly three-quarters of the 8,196 girls under 16 getting pregnant were 15-year-olds.

Beverley Hughes, the Children and Young People’s Minister, said policies to cut teenage pregnancies were being implemented patchily.

“Today’s teenage pregnancy statistics are disappointing,” she said.

“Although the reduction in the last quarter of 2007 over 2006 gives me cautious optimism that the drive to reduce teenage conceptions is still on track. There is no doubt that rates have come down where local areas have implemented the strategy properly, even in deprived areas.

“The evidence suggests that more teenagers may have been engaging in risky behaviour and not using contraception, resulting in an increase in conceptions leading to abortion. Our strategy is to encourage teenagers to delay early sexual activity, but to use contraception when they do become sexually active.”

The chairwoman of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group, Gill Francis says, “Today’s challenging figures clearly show that all local areas have to stop the excuses and get on with providing contraceptive services and sex and relationship education for all young people, including the under-16s.”

Half of the 42,918 girls under 18 in England and Wales who got pregnant in 2007 had an abortion - up from 48 per cent the previous year.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said: “The fact that half of the teenagers in this position felt able to end their pregnancy in abortion is actually a positive sign.”

“There is less social stigma about abortion amongst young people these days,” she said. “If that means young women now have more choice about whether to keep their baby, or to end a pregnancy if their contraception has let them down, then that is an entirely good thing.”

But Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, warned that the figures represented the “tip of the iceberg”.

“The Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy has been a disaster for young people,” he said.

“The expansion of confidential contraceptive services for young people under the age of 16 is making it more difficult for girls to resist the advances of their boyfriends and is giving the green light for boys to pressurise girls into sexual activity.

“The Government’s latest initiative advising parents not to tell their children that there are any rights or wrongs where sex is concerned is further abandoning young people to the shifting sands of relativism and depriving them of the moral compass they so desperately need.”

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