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Teen Pregnancy Project Scraped For Causing Pregnancies

The UK has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all of Europe and the second highest in the developed world after the US. Deciding to address the problem, the UK dedicated millions of pounds to a project aimed at at-risk youth. Now, that project has been abandoned because it was unsuccessful in cutting conceptions. Of the teens who participated in the program, 16 percent became pregnant, compared to 6 percent of teens in other groups considered at risk.

So why has access to contraception, advertising campaigns, and more sex ed caused an increase in teen pregnancy rates? No one really knows exactly, but it appears throwing money at the problem is not the simple solution. Programs were effective when a charismatic staff facilitated access to reproductive health services, connected with the teens, and conveyed a strong and clear message about avoiding unprotected sex. When one or more of these factors was not present, the success rate dropped. In addition, researchers suspect that the program may have been more successful if it had been rooted in smaller communities, instead of implemented by pulling together kids from different places. In fact, they wonder if the at-risk kids might have negatively influenced each other more than the program.

One British commentator thinks the country needs broader policies that don't just take on teen pregnancy, but rather focus on general education and job training for youth.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Michelann Michelann 8 years
If they mean the developed world, they really need to say that.
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
I'm gonna take a swing and say the developing world. I'm also gonna bet that the avarage woman's lifespan in the undeveloped world (especially where there's a lot of teen pregnancy) is considerably less than the avarage woman's lifespan in the US.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
"The UK has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all of Europe and the second highest in the world after the US." I'm sorry, but this is just flat-out not true. I know that's what the linked article says, but it must be an editing oversight. Did they mean to say "in the developed world"? The U.S. does not have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world. And the U.K. does not have the second highest. I know this chart is a bit hard to read, but the overall results are pretty clear.
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
@omminka Don't most other developed countries have a healthier attitude toward sex? I mean, in the US it's all "tabboo" and something you "just don't talk about" but at the same time, it's all over the media, advertising, billboards, etc. So, it's trendy and rebelious at the same time... something that appeals to teenagers. And while the UK, as far as I know, has a slightly less strange portrayal of sex, they kinda go along the same way as the US. Meanwhile, other developed countries, if I'm not mistaken, are more over-all open about it. Kinda taking away the rebeliousness of it, and opening up more avenues for education and pregnancy prevention.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Does "at-risk" only cover at risk for becoming pregnant, or does it apply to other things (like drug use, unemployment, non-education, etc.)? If so, then it's no reason that this didn't work. You can't treat symptoms and expect the problem to go away. They need to get more policies that focus on either rectifying or mediating the factors that actually put these kids at risk for all these negative outcomes. It should be comprehensive, some of them may need counseling...but motivate them to become positively productive and better in the society. General training can help with that, sure, but don't let it become a major focus.
janneth janneth 8 years
Some of these at-risk girls do not have access to a good education, and so they don't see a worthwhile future with an interesting job in which they will earn enough money to support themselves. Having a baby gives them something to do.
janneth janneth 8 years
Some of these programs assume that kids will have sex, and they try to help them avoid pregnancy and STDs. That's great. But that basic assumption, that all teens have sex, can take away the idea that just maybe, some of these girls don't need to have sex right now, that it might not be the right thing for some of them, and so why not add a component that encourages them to explore the idea of waiting?
imdamoos imdamoos 8 years
I think the other countries in Europe do more education on birth control and make it more available.
omminka omminka 8 years
I'm curious why teen pregnancy is so high in the U.S. and U.K.; what are other developed countries doing to control unprotected sex among teens?
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
so basically, they took a bunch of "at risk for pregnancy" kids (read:kids who are sexually active and arguably irresponsible), and put them all together somewhere away from home, to barrage them with sex education, and then a bunch of them ended up pregnant?! And people are SURPRISED?! I'm sorry, but if that's not irony I don't know what is.
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