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Sex education failing kids

13th March 2007

A Tory MP has spoken out against current legislation, saying parents of young girls should be told if their daughters are given contraceptive or abortion advice.

Angela Watkinson argues that children need advice and guidance and that currently too much emphasis is placed on sex education and contraceptive information.  She said it was illogical to expect a child to be able to make the decision about an abortion alone.  "Very young children are bombarded with information about sex, information about contraception and then an assumption is made that they are going to make wise decisions with this information.  I feel very strongly that parents ought to be involved in these very serious life-changing decisions," she said.

Mrs Watkinson argues that abortion rates in the US have dropped by up a fifth since children were encouraged to seek the advice of their parents.  Her views are backed by some experts who argue that scrapping confidential advice for the under-16s would not lead to more children having unprotected sex. 

As Britain faces one of the worst teenage pregnancy rates in Europe, the government has set targets to halve the conception rate in under-18s in England by 2010.  However, Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP and senior tutor at the University of London, said he believed sexual health in the UK was "rapidly declining" and that the government’s targets are unlikely to be met.  He backed Mrs Watkinson by saying that her proposals are "the only way forward if we really do mean business about improving the sexual health of young people".

 

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