Professor calls for strategy u turn as stats show little change in teen pregnancies
22 February 2011
Professor calls for strategy u-turn as stats show little change in teen pregnancies London, 22 February 2011: A leading expert on teenage pregnancy trends has called for a u-turn in the 10-year national teenage pregnancy strategy.
Professor David Paton, chair of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, was commenting on official estimates of under-18 pregnancies in 2009, which claim to predict a six percent fall (BBC, 22 February )
Speaking to pro-life group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), Professor Paton said: "11 years after the launch of the Labour Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy, it is clear that, despite the millions of pounds that has been spent, there is no chance at all that we will come even close to meeting the target of a 50% fall in the under-18 conception rate. The research evidence is increasingly clear: those areas that have promoted access to contraception have not seen larger decreases in teenage pregnancy than other areas. More disturbingly, there is now evidence that the promotion of easier access to emergency birth control is associated with increases in STIs amongst teenagers. Now is the time to consider a move away from an over-reliance on strategies aimed largely at managing the risks of underage sexual activity. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "The tired old formula of abortion, condoms, pills and school-based sex ed has failed a whole generation of our children. The coalition government must make a break with Labour's failed teenage pregnancy strategy. Parents are the key to solving the problem of high rates of teenage pregnancy. The rights and responsibilities of parents as the first and foremost educators of their children in sexual matters must be upheld again. Children will then have the formation necessary to resist being sexualised."