By Hilary White
LONDON, July 9, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A scheme to reduce teenage pregnancies that cost British taxpayers £6 million ($9.8 million US) has backfired, with girls in the program ending up more than twice as likely to become pregnant than those in the general population. The Young People's Development Programme (YPDP) cost £2,500 ($4,085 US) per person and involved giving teenagers sex education and advice about contraception. At the end of the project a total of 16 percent of those involved became pregnant compared with just 6 percent in a comparison group.
A Department of Health spokesman said, "This pilot was based on a successful American program. It did not appear to reduce teenage pregnancy so we will not be taking it any further."
The program ran in 27 parts of England between 2004 and 2007, based on a similar model in New York, and was designed to offer education and support for 13 to 15-year-olds who were deemed at risk of exclusion from school, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy. A total of 2,371 teenagers took part in the program over the three years.
A study evaluating the program published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that young women in the YPDP group were more likely to have not used contraception when they most recently had sex.
The study concluded, "Among young women, YPDP participants more commonly reported teenage pregnancies, early heterosexual sex and expectation of becoming a teenage parent, as well as temporary exclusion from school and truancy. No evidence was found that the intervention was effective in delaying heterosexual experience or reducing pregnancies, drunkenness or cannabis use. Some results suggested an adverse effect."
At the same time, recently released statistics show that after decades of sex education programs in schools combined with easily available publicly funded abortion, more than half of the children conceived by unwed teens in Britain are killed by abortion. Of around 40,000 pregnancies among girls under 18 years in 2008, more than 20,000 were ended by abortion.
According to figures released this year from the Office for National Statistics, 41.9 girls per 1,000 aged 15 to 17 became pregnant in 2007, compared with 40.9 in 2006. Among girls aged 13 to 15 the rate rose from 7.8 per 1,000 girls to 8.3. Around 8,196 girls aged under 16 became pregnant in 2007.
As these figures were released, the government announced an increase of £20.5 million in funding for "reproductive health" clinics, long-term contraceptive implants and advertising campaigns. More recently, the government announced that it will make explicit sex education a compulsory part of the school curriculum in all grades.
Faced with an ever rising number of teenagers conceiving children, the Labour government has insisted that only more and more explicit "sex education," wider availability of artificial contraception and abortion is the answer.
Phyllis Bowman of Right to Life slammed the government's failed attempts at curbing the problem of teenage pregnancy. "The young have been deliberately sexualised in a culture which sneers at the idea of telling teenagers they should not have sex," she said.
She pointed to "contraception campaigners" who look to unwed teenagers for the bulk of their revenue. "We have the highest level of sexually transmitted disease in Europe and the highest level of sexual activity among teenagers in Europe. UNICEF says we have the unhappiest teenagers in Europe.
A Department of Health spokesman, however, defended the government's approach, saying, "One of the key aims of this Government, as set out in the Sexual Health and Teenage Pregnancy Strategies, is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and consequently abortions, through better access to contraception.
"Prescribed contraception is available free of charge under NHS arrangements, and the Department of Health has recently invested additional funds to allow for improvements in contraception services."
The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, launched by Tony Blair's New Labour, has received more than £300 million in funding. It was meant to halve the number of conceptions among girls under 18 in England between 1998 and 2010. At the time the government started the Strategy, fewer than four out of ten pregnant teenage girls opted for an abortion.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage: