Nursing Times, UK (PDF file)
Teenage pregnancy and access to contraception: what does the evidence show?
Since the Government launched its Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in 1999, millions of pounds have been spent on access to “confidential sexual health services” for young people. Many nurses are uncomfortable with providing such services to children under 16, especially without parental knowledge, but do so believing that they are helping to reduce the risks of early pregnancy.
Unfortunately, the latest data shows that pregnancy and abortion rates for under-sixteens are higher now than when the Strategy started. Given this, nurses may be questioning whether they have been right to go along with this policy and it will be helpful to understand what the academic evidence says on the issue.
We have a wealth of evidence, from both randomised trials and population-level studies, indicating that access to birth control has little if any impact on teenage pregnancy rates. To take one example, a 2007 Obstetrics and Gynecology review of the evidence relating to emergency birth control (EBC) concluded, “to date, no study has shown that increased access to [EBC] reduces unintended pregnancy or abortion rates”.
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Gee, you don’t mean the Holy Father was right?