UK govt woefully failing on teenage pregnancy
29 February 2008
UK teenage pregnancies are still the highest in Europe and the government has reached less that half its targeted reduction in under-18 conceptions. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (on which we commented yesterday) reveal that teenage pregnancy has been reduced by only 5% since 2001. [Daily Mail, 28 February] The Liberal Democrats have criticised the government for lack of progress in meeting their target. [PA on Channel 4, 28 February] Notes: The Lib-dems propose very similar policies to the government for addressing the teenage pregnancy question. The number of conceptions or pregnancies reported here is calculated from birth and abortion statistics. Pregnancies that result in miscarriage or are ended by early-acting abortifacients are not recorded.
Official statistics also show a record number of pregnancies among women over 40. As more women put off having children in order to concentrate on their careers, ITN reports, the pregnancy rate has risen by 6% between 2005 and 2006, from 11.5 per 1,000 women to 12.2. [ITN, 28 February] A study also shows that more pregnancies occur outside wedlock than within it. The latest figures show that, in 56% of conceptions in 2006, the parents were unmarried. [Telegraph, 29 February] Births outside of wedlock have not yet overtaken those within marriage, as many fewer babies conceived within marriage are aborted.
SPUC has voiced its concerns that a pro-abortion culture is prevailing in the British medical profession. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's political secretary, pointed out that "only two of the Abortion Act's seven grounds are restricted to 24 weeks, all other grounds are without time limit i.e. up to birth." Mr Greg Clovis, director of Human Life International UK, also said that, under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, abortion provision could become much wider. [Catholic News Agency, 27 February] An Oxfordshire councillor has complained about women having to travel outside the county for abortions. Cllr Dave King said he felt doctors working for the National Health Service should be required to provide abortion. A spokesman for Oxford hospitals said that some doctors working for the NHS in Oxfordshire had expressed objection to carrying out abortions, and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust had contracted out abortions to the Marie Stopes organisation. The nearest clinics were in London and Reading, meaning that women travel out of the county. The latest statistics say that 80% of the abortions carried out on Oxfordshire women have taken place in Reading and London. [Oxford Mail, 29 February]