Letter: Teenage mothers

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The Independent Culture
Sir: There are two myths that liberal sex educators wish to promote. First, that school sex education leads to the delay of sexual activity. Secondly, that the Netherlands followed by Sweden have the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe - whilst Britain has the highest. It is important that those making such assertions can show that they are based on evidence, not hearsay.

Your article "Too little: too late" (12 February) asserted that these two myths were fact. Having studied the research on the subject I have been unable to discover any reliable evidence showing that sex education does not encourage earlier sexual activity. The need for myth-making has intensified because of the recent vogue for abstinence programmes in the US. The idea that sexual health might best be promoted by teaching abstinence is anathema to some liberal educators.

The real issue for researchers is to explain the explosive growth in premature and promiscuous sexual activity - first noted in the US, then in the Netherlands and latterly in the UK.