Teenage pregnancy rates down- but for how long?
The Office for National Statistics has this week released statistics estimating that the number of under-18 pregnancies for 2009 was at its lowest since the early 1980s- a fall of 5.9%. Over half of these conceptions led to legal abortion, and the under-16 birth rate also fell.
The statistics- for England and Wales- do however fall short of the government’s 1998 pledge to halve pregnancies by 2010.
A number of strategies have been attributed to the fall, from better access to contraception to improved sex education. However positive this progress, spending cuts in sectors providing such services have rendered them vulnerable- and may well mean we see these numbers spike once again.
Simon Blake, National Director of the Brook Advisory Centres, told BBC News,
“In times of public spending cuts, making cuts to sexual health services is short sighted as this is crucial to young people’s wellbeing and actually saves money – for every £1 spent on contraception £11 is saved.”
Experts predict that council cuts- which will affect charities and other organisations- will have a knock-on effect and strain on the NHS, while other youth services funded at a local government level (including teenage pregnancy) are also facing an uncertain future, with the Department for Education revealing that funding for such projects will be cut by 10% next year.
Are these cuts necessary or will they create bigger problems further down the line, seeing teenage pregnancy rates rise once again? Let us know your views- leave a comment below.