Promoting marriage ‘will curb teenage pregnancy’

A family campaigner has called for more emphasis on marriage in education to curb teenage pregnancy rates.

Promoting long-term contraceptive jabs to under 16s “is simply giving them a licence to engage in illegal sexual relationships”, warns Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust.

Increased provision of contraceptives just leads to higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and encourages some to become sexually active when they would not have done so otherwise, he argues in a letter to The Sunday Telegraph.

He adds that most under-16s are not sexually active and recommends spelling out “to the minority the physical, emotional and psychological benefits of keeping sexual activity within the bounds of a lifelong mutually faithful relationship between a husband and wife”.

Mr Wells was responding to news last week that girls in teenage pregnancy ‘hotspots’ around the country are to be encouraged to have contraceptive jabs lasting up to three months.

Following this, a children’s charity called for more sexual health clinics to open in schools.

Family campaigners are also concerned about plans to roll out explicit, compulsory sex education as part of a programme beginning at primary school level.

The Government points to a similar approach taken in the Netherlands, where teenage pregnancy rates are much lower.

However, many say this has more to do with differences in culture than sex education in schools.

According to a report in yesterday’s Times, Dutch children are five times less likely to be living in a family headed by a lone parent, divorce rates are far lower and fewer mothers are in full-time employment. Abortion is also less acceptable.

One Dutch mother said: “There are many Calvinists and Roman Catholics and having an abortion is still seen as a shame.

“The family is very important. Almost no mothers work full-time; they see their main role as educating their children.”