New data reveal that teenage pregnancy rates are on the decline

This morning the 2008 (provisional) conception statistics were published by the Office for National Statistics. The statistics for England showed the under-18 conception rate had dropped to 40.4 per 1000, a decrease of 3.2% from the 2007 rate and the lowest rate for over 20 years. This means the under-18 rate has now fallen 13.3% since the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy began. In 2008, the estimated number of conceptions to women aged under 18 was 38,750 compared with 40,298 in 2007. Of these, 50 per cent led to a legal abortion compared with 51 per cent in 2007.

Leading sexual health agency Marie Stopes International (MSI) issued the following statement:

“We are pleased that the teenage conception rate in England has decreased. The general downward trend over the last decade is confirmation that where implemented appropriately, the Government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy contributes to reductions in the teenage conception rate, and the Government should be congratulated on this achievement. We hope that the strategy will receive even more support, to ensure that we are able to continue to improve the sexual health of Britain’s young people.

"Moving forward, parents, educators, politicians and health and social services need to work together and re-double efforts if we are to keep the conception statistics on a downward trend. We are delighted by today’s announcement that the Government bill to guarantee the provision of age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE) has passed through Report Stage in the House of Commons. Coupled with the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, this will provide teenagers with vital knowledge, information and confidence to be able to say no to unwanted sex and then when they are ready, to negotiate their sexual lives safely using contraception effectively and protecting themselves against unplanned pregnancy. In support of the Government’s concerted sexual health strategies, health and social services need to facilitate the provision of accessible contraceptive advice, supplies and sexual health services specifically tailored to young people’s needs, and parents should try to promote an open attitude towards talking about sex, to ensure their children approach them for advice if needed.

"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. We are pleased that those teenagers who have aspirations other than motherhood appear to be protecting themselves against unintended pregnancy. However, no method of contraception is 100% effective, and it is noticeable from the statistics that approximately half of the young women faced with an unintended pregnancy are recognising that the life outcomes for them and their future family may be better if they delay parenthood.

The evidence is clear that when men and women of all ages are given 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. We need to continue to prioritise sexual health to ensure that the future conception rates reach an all-time low.”

All quotes are attributable to Anne Quesney, Policy & Parliamentary Adviser UK and Europe, Marie Stopes International.


Notes to editors:

The MSI Likeitis website gives young people access to information about all aspects of sex education and teenage life, including teenage pregnancy, help and advice, periods, lovebugs (sexually transmitted infections), sex, peer pressure, sexuality, contraception, emergency contraception and puberty, please visit www.likeitis.org

For further information on the conceptions statistics please visit www.statistics.gov.uk

Categories: United Kingdom; Europe; Advocacy & campaigning; Young people

24/02/2010

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