Right of Reply: Mike Willis
Wednesday 20 January 1999
THE REDUCTION in teenage pregnancies is once again top of the agenda in the battle for the health of the nation. The Government has set ambitious targets and health apparatchiks have stormed into action.
Just before Christmas, Boots was wheeled into the vanguard of the teenage- pregnancy-reduction strategy. A teenage drop-in centre was established at a branch in Glasgow. Angry parents picketed the store and a national boycott is in place.
This has done little to deter the Health Trust of Glasgow which now wants to extend the Boots drop-in concept into schools. Their strategy appears to be about providing accessible clinics where sexually active youngsters can obtain contraceptives - which, they believe, will tackle the problem of unwanted teenage pregnancies.
The last 30 years have taught us that this is a flawed strategy: contraceptives fail and the more we encourage teenagers to indulge in "safe sex", the more unwanted pregnancies will result.
The ProLife Alliance has been arguing for a complete reversal of sex education policies. Our starting-point is similar to the development of anti-smoking policies for the young. Under-age sex, like smoking, goes on, but it is bad for your health and in the long term it is better for the teenager if this behaviour is changed.
The incidence of sexually transmitted disease among the young is at record levels. Abstinence programmes in the US have achieved startling results in adapting teenage lifestyles. In Michigan, teenage pregnancy rates have been reduced by 25 per cent. Saying "no" is a strategy well worth developing - perhaps it is just too simple for the so-called health professionals.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
After Sam Smith’s Mobo success, is the help of a pushy parent the surest route to stardom?
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts