Britain is having an epidemic of pregnant teenagers and a record number of girls under the age of 18 are opting for an abortion. Some sides are encouraged by the rate of abortions while others are more concerned that young girls are engaging in risky sex.
Official figures from the UK show that more than 21,000 girls under the age of 18 have terminated a pregnancy in 2007. This is the first time that abortion rates have hit the 50 percent mark with pregnant women.
In 2007 the conception rate of girls under 18 was 41.9 per 1,000. Even more startling was that 8,196 pregnancies in 2007 were with mothers under the age of 16.
The Telegraph reports on that proportion of girls choosing to abort those pregnancies is 50/50.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the charity the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the UK’s largest abortion provider, said: “The fact that half of the teenagers in this position felt able to end their pregnancy in abortion is actually a positive sign.”
Not everyone is looking at the higher abortion rate as a positive measure. many believe that the focus should be on the high pregnancy rate among young women.
“Instead of endless reviews and leaflets for parents, ministers need to ensure that all of our young people are getting the relationship and sex education they need,” Annette Brooke, the Liberal Democrat Children Spokesperson said.
While some areas have actually seen lower pregnancy rates that is not the overall picture coming out of the UK. That is something that activists are calling to the government to key in on.
The Independent reports:
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “This is another Government target missed.
“Once again it demonstrates how pointless it is to set targets if the Government doesn’t do what is needed to deliver on them.
“Reducing teenage pregnancy requires more than teaching children about sex.
“It requires a supportive and responsible family together with high-quality relationship education which gives teenagers the self-confidence and guidance needed to recognise their interest in avoiding early and unprotected sexual intercourse.”
The high rate shows that more teenagers are having unprotected sex and may be engaging in risky behaviour.
“Our strategy is to encourage teenagers to delay early sexual activity, but to use contraception when they do become sexually active,” said Beverley Hughes, the Children and Young People’s Minister.
Hilary Pannack, of the sex education charity Straight Talking, believes that the nation is failing its children. The fact is that teenage parents often have children who are themselves teenage parents. Those families tend to be in the lower economic groups.