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Give young free condoms

28th January 2008

A Labour MP in Wales has said that free contraception should be handed out to young people in order to prevent teenage pregnancies.

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Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda, said he wanted to see condoms given out in 150 areas of the country which have high teenage pregnancy rates.

He will chair a debate about the issue in Parliament's Westminster Hall this week. Recent figures showed that the UK came top for teenage pregnancy in Western Europe and was second in the world after the USA.

Mr Bryant said that the rates of pregnancy in the UK showed "the map of British deprivation".

The latest statistics revealed there were 43.4 live births per 1,000 girls in Mr Bryant's constituency. The average for Wales is 33.7 and in England the rate is 28.9. 50% of conceptions in girls under 18 occurred in the country's 20% most deprived wards.

He said families often found it hard to discuss sex and that the education given in schools was "rudimentary at best".

Mr Bryant has put together a website and wants to see improved sex education and contraceptive advice offered in schools.

In December the DH revealed that the numbers of teenage pregnancies had only been cut by 11.4% since 1998. The DH has a target to reduce rates by 50% by 2010.

Mr Bryant stated that in Rhondda in 2006, nearly one in 25 teenagers aged 15-19 had a baby.

The MP said free condoms should be available "places where young people go, aimed at cutting STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and pregnancies".

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