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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 02:15 GMT
Teen pregnancy plan 'a disaster'
The government aims to half teenage pregnancies by 2010
Teenage pregnancies have risen fastest in areas where the government has tried to reduce them, campaigners say.

Teenagers should be taught the benefits of not having underage sex rather than being given the means to have sex, Family and Youth Concern says.

President Valerie Riches called the government's efforts to cut teenage pregnancy a "disaster".

The Department of Health says access to contraception is just part of its strategy to combat teenage pregnancy.

They seem to be actively urging young people to have sex with the free availability of contraception
Valerie Riches
Family & Youth Concern
In a booklet entitled Sex Education or Indoctrination published on Monday the group claims the government's efforts to half pregnancies in under-18s by 2010 are not working.

Earlier this month, it was revealed latest figures showed that the number of teenagers becoming pregnant had increased by 2.2%.

The number of under-18s who became pregnant in England and Wales rose from 40,966 in 2001 to 41,868 in 2002, according to government statistics.

'No questions asked'

Mrs Riches said areas with special programmes to tackle the problem had seen a rise in teenage pregnancies, citing increases of 22.4% in Torbay and 16.4% in Cornwall

"They seem to be actively urging young people to have sex with the free availability of contraception, no questions asked and with parents out of the loop," she said.

She said the "vast majority" of youngsters did not want to have sex and that girls, in particular, felt under pressure to "give it away".

"Until our sexual educators overcome their phobia about abstinence and their obsession with sexual expression, they are unlikely to make any positive progress", she added.

A Department of Health spokesman said providing access to contraception should be seen "in the overall context" of the government's teenage pregnancy and sexual health strategies.

"This includes helping young people to resist pressure to have early sex through improved sex and relationship education.

"It also includes improving knowledge of risks of unprotected sex, increasing early uptake of contraceptive and sexual health advice by sexually active young people and involving parents and the wider community", he added.

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