A new Government survey has revealed that almost one in five girls in England say they had been pregnant at least once by the time they were 18.
Some 18% claimed to have been expecting a baby at least once, according to figures released by the Department of Education as part of wider research into 18-year-olds. Just under half (46%) decided to keep their child while more than a third (36%) decided to have an abortion.
Of the girls who said they had been pregnant, 79% said they had been pregnant once, 18% twice and 3% on three occasions.
The survey also drew a trend from the young women who had fallen pregnant by the time they were 18, by looking at their GCSE results - a third of that number achieved between one and four GCSEs at grades D-G while only 6% scored eight or more GCSEs at Grades A*-C.
Thousands of 18-year-olds responded to the Youth Cohort Study and the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England, and the answers were analysed by Department of Education officials.
Spokesperson from Britain’s leading sexual health organisation, Marie Stopes International said:
“There is an urgent need for the Government to pass the Sex Education Bill that was shelved before the election. This will ensure all young people have access to accurate and age-appropriate information about how to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
“Although parenthood might be a planned choice for some young women, for others becoming a teenage mum unintentionally can cost them their education and career.
“Half of all pregnancies to under 18-year-olds end in abortion. Research shows that when young people are provided with sex and relationships education coupled with access to a variety of contraceptive methods, real reductions in unintended pregnancy rates, and consequently abortion rates, can be achieved."
Copyright © Press Association 2010