Children having children: Manchester teen pregnancy shame as city has highest rate in UK

Manchester has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, according to recent statistics.

More than one in 20 girls in the city discovered they were expecting a child before their 18th birthday, data from the Office of National Statistics shows.

Between 2009-2011, 64.9 out of every 1,000 girls aged between 15 and 17 became pregnant.

This is well above the UK average of 27.2 and almost six times higher than the nation’s lowest scoring area, Rutland.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service insisted the best thing for teens to do if have unprotected sex is immediately go to their GP for the morning after pill.

“Young people need straightforward access to non-judgmental sexual health services if they are thinking about becoming sexually active,” a statement read.

“They must never feel ashamed for seeking the advice they need.

“If a young woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, it’s really important that she makes the decision that is right for her – whether that is choosing an abortion or continuing the pregnancy.”

There was better news for Britain as a whole however, with under-18 conceptions currently at their lowest since records began in 1982.

Manchester MP Lucy Powell believes more help is needed locally and says if elected, Labour would introduce compulsory Sex and Relationship Education to help youngsters with adult pressures.

“Manchester has seen an unfair level of cuts under this government and families are paying the price,” she told MM.

“We’ve seen funds for tackling teenage pregnancy slashed and budgets merged with no clear leadership from Ministers.”

The Government’s Care to Learn scheme is currently in place for pregnant teens who are in need of education support, while local authorities can also help with providing accommodation.

Another concern surrounding the issue is the spreading of STIs with around 40,000 new cases every year among the UK’s teens.

The country’s largest sexual health charity, Brook, believes better education on the risks of unprotected sex and more confidential advice are needed to improve Manchester’s results.

“Young people need to be well informed about the risks of sexually transmitted infections,” a spokesman for the organisation said.

“This means that when they decide they are ready to become sexually active, they are able to protect their own sexual health and enjoy their sexuality without harm.

“By providing integrated contraception and STI services, in community settings, we can help reduce stigma and make services easier to use.”

Image courtesy of Canwest News, with thanks.

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