Half of teenage pregnancies end in abortion

PUBLISHED: 07:04 28 April 2019

Devon teen pregnancy numbers fall in new figures from the Office of National Statistics. Picture: Getty Images

Devon teen pregnancy numbers fall in new figures from the Office of National Statistics. Picture: Getty Images

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The number of teenagers becoming pregnant has significantly decreased within the past six years.

Fewer than one 15 to 17-year-old a week discovered they were pregnant in North Somerset in 2017, according the latest figures published by the Office of National Statistics.

However, more than half of girls decided to have an abortion.

In 2011, 26 out of every 1,000 15 to 17-year-old girls fell pregnant, but the proportion dropped by 50 per cent in the following six years.

There were 43 pregnancies in 2017 across North Somerset involving girls, but in 24 instances the expectant mother had a termination.

Katherine O'Brien, associate director of communications and campaigns at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: “There is no doubt that improved access to contraception, particularly highly-effective long-acting methods such as the contraceptive implant, has had a significant impact.

“This may be in part due to improvements in the information we are giving our young people, but wider societal shifts are also being reflected in the downward trend.

“We know young people today are very much focused on their education, determined to succeed in a challenging economic environment, and feel that having a child at this stage will be disruptive to their life goals.”

Nationally, 16,740 girls aged 15 to 17 discovered they were expectant in 2017, out of 847,204 pregnancies.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “We welcome the fact that teenage pregnancy rates continue to be low in North Somerset. It is a priority to offer good sexual health advice to all our young people as part of their overall health and wellbeing.”

Natika Halil, chief executive of sexual health charity FPA, put the fall in teenage pregnancy rates down to hard work from health and education professionals and called on councils not to cut services.

She said: “Teenage pregnancy can be reduced by investing the right time, resources and expertise into services and education.

“This investment not only saves money in the long-term, but also helps prevent the range of negative long-term educational, health and social outcomes that young parents and their children are more likely to experience.”

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