Comment: More needs to be done to tackle inequalities

It is to be welcomed that teenage pregnancies have dropped by more than 40 per cent in the last decade.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 8:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 9:46 am

That really is a significant drop. Getting pregnant while young is something that can dictate the future path of an entire life. If a young girl decides to keep the baby then obviously looking after the little one is what comes first. Not every girl will have a family that is able or willing to help her in this.

But even if there is help then it can often mean an end to studying, and that means a limit to job prospects, and that along with the time and effort children take can often mean an early reliance on benefits.

That can also mean the ability to pay for childcare is also limited, which means it can be years before the child is ready for nursery and the mother is able to have any 
ability of renewing her studies or entering the work place.

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It is a fact that teenagers who become parents are more likely to have poorer health, education, social and economic outcomes. And their children are also likely to get caught in the same cycle.

In the 21st century with all our medical advances, the vast majority of unwanted pregnancies can be avoided. If it is realised just what a life-changing event having a baby is and how it can dictate the course of an entire lifetime, it is to be hoped that more youngsters would make the choice to 
avoid it.

In a further blow it turns out that girls in poorer areas, who already find it harder to access universities and increase their life options, are more likely to become pregnant than those in more affluent areas.

It seems better sex education and access to treatment has been responsible for the welcome drop, but it is also clear that more needs to be done, particularly in a bid to even out the further inequality of opportunity. Everything must be done to give these youngsters the best chance of making better choices.