A new study looking at pregnancy in Britain has revealed that for the first time in five years, the amount of girls under the age of eighteen to get pregnant is actually going up.
The worrying report comes from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and implies that the Government are pretty far off their mark of halving teenage pregnancy in girls under eighteen.
Campaign groups, although disappointed about the news, do not find it unexpected considering the random way funding is assigned to promote safe sex. The Government have reacted to the new statistics by declaring a further £19 million boost will be injected into renewed contraceptive campaigns.
The ONS reported that in 2007, the amount of women falling pregnant who were under the age of eighteen, increased from 41,768 in 2006 to 42,918.
The number of women conceiving out of this group also went up, from 40.9 per 1,000 women in 2006 to 41.9 in 2007. Pregnancy rates in this age group had not gone up since 2002.
However, less women actually decided to have their babies. As much as 50 per cent of pregnant women under eighteen decided to have an abortion in 2007 - up two per cent from the year before, according to the ONS report.
However, the most shocking figures are coming from the even more vulnerable under 16 age group.
In 2007, 8,196 girls under the legal age of consent fell pregnant, compared with 7,826 in 2006. Almost 75 per cent of these girls were only 15 when they became pregnant. Over 60 per cent chose to terminate the pregnancy.
The conception rate went up from 7.8 in 1,000 girls under the age of 16 in 2006 to 8.3 per 1,000 girls in 2007 - an increase of 6.4 per cent.
The Government’s aim to halve teenage pregnancies amongst girls under the age of 18 by 2010 is very far off target at the moment and unlikely to catch up. In 2004 the aim to cut rates by 15 per cent from 1988 was also not achieved.
The Government commented that overall in the long term, teenage pregnancies were decreasing, with a 10.7 per cent reduction in under 18 conceptions and a 23.3 percent decrease in teenage births since the Government set up their teenage pregnancy strategy in 1998.
Public health minister Dawn Primarolo and Berverley Hughes, the children’s minister, pledged £20.5 million of new funding for the campaign.