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Sex education 'doesn't cut teen pregnancies'

28th August 2012

The results of a study carried out by a professor of industrial economics at Nottingham University have suggested teenage pregnancies are not affected by sex education lessons or free contraception.

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Professor David Paton said the number of pregnancies for girls aged under 16 had remained roughly the same since 1969.

He said the number of conceptions in the under-16 age group had ranged from seven to 10 per 1,000 since 1969.

The rate had risen three times over nine per 1,000 per year; in the 1970s, the beginning of the 1990s and in 1996.

Professor Paton wrote in the Education and Health journal: "Millions of pounds have been spent by policymakers on numerous initiatives aimed at cutting teenage pregnancy rates."

"However, identifying the impact of policy interventions...[is] something of a challenge."

He added that there was no link between sexual health campaigns and falls in the number of teenage pregnancies, and wrote: "unwanted pregnancy among minors in England and Wales has proved remarkably resilient to policy initiatives."

He explained that there should be a shift in the campaigns to being "aimed more directly at reducing the level of underage sexual activity."

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