Monday, 1 August 2011

Myth-Busting Monday: ‘Rates of teenage pregnancy are rising’

Every Monday EFC busts myths and take names, cutting through the misinformation, disinformation, and straight up nonsense to bring you the facts.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the conception rate for young women has been consistently on the rise for the past 5, 10 or 20 years. Common wisdom (including some newspapers, media personalities and people at bus stops) presents ‘teenage pregnancy’ as a growing concern, with more and more women under 18 experiencing unintended pregnancy.

In fact, the latest statistics show that the under-18 conception rate for 2009 is estimated to be the lowest rate since the early 1980s. This reduction is a result of the last government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy launched in 1998 in an attempt to reduce levels of unwanted pregnancy amongst young women. Although the strategy did make steady progress this was not the case in all areas of the country and overall the target to reduce teenage pregnancy by 50% was not reached.

The ‘Teenage Pregnancy Next Steps’ document gives an overview of the strategy’s aims and achievements. It notes that what worked was 'provision of YP focused contraception/sexual health services, trusted by teenagers and well known by professionals working with them' and 'Strong delivery of SRE/PSHE by schools'. Government cuts to youth and sexual health services could threaten these positive steps forward. See this recent article in CYP Now for further comment.

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