Decline in rates of teenage pregnancy

Despite a fall in the number of teenage
pregnancies in the UK for the second year running, the government
has come under pressure to step up its commitment to helping
teenage parents.

According to figures published last week by
the Office of National Statistics, conception rates among under-18s
fell by 2.4 per cent between 1999 and 2000. The total reduction
since 1998 is 6.3 per cent, which means over 4,000 pregnancies have
been prevented for girls under 18.

Initiatives already implemented as part of the
teenage pregnancy strategy include a £16m investment in local
areas in 2002-3 to tackle teenage pregnancy rates; new information
packs for young people on sexual issues; and a national campaign on
prevention messages.

But a report by the Young Women’s Christian
Association, also published last week, has urged the government to
step up its commitment to eradicate poverty and social exclusion of
young parents after a study revealed strong links between poverty
and teenage motherhood.

The YWCA report calls for people to stop
“demonising” teenage mothers. Its seven-point action plan includes
calls for an increase in the minimum wage for those under 21 to the
adult rate and training courses for social care professionals on
the needs of young parents.

– Poverty: The Price of Young Motherhood in
Britain from  

– ONS data from

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