Promoting marriage can fix teenage pregnancy rates
Aiming to increase the uptake of contraceptive injections and implants among girls under 16 is simply giving them a licence to engage in illegal sexual relationships. We cannot think of any other area where the Government facilitates lawbreaking, or at least sets out to mitigate the consequences of unlawful conduct.
It is alarming to see the Government more interested in getting young people to use contraception than it is in discouraging them from engaging in sexual activity in the first place. The more the Government invests in programmes to make it easier for young people to obtain contraceptives, the higher the rates of sexually transmitted infections rise.
There is no evidence that increasing young people’s access to contraception results in lower teenage conception rates. Instead, it encourages some teenagers to become sexually active when they would not otherwise have done so.
Rather than persisting with a teenage pregnancy strategy that is proving counterproductive, the Government needs to recognise the fact that the majority of under-16s are not sexually active and spell out to the minority the physical, emotional and psychological benefits of keeping sexual activity within the bounds of a lifelong mutually faithful relationship between a husband and wife.
Family Education Trust
Published in the Daily Telegraph, 23 November 2008