Teen abortions on the rise in Suffolk

NUMBERS of Suffolk youngsters seeking abortions are on the increase, figures revealed today.

NUMBERS of Suffolk youngsters seeking abortions are on the increase, figures revealed today.

The rise has prompted health experts to describe the situation as “unacceptable”.

Despite free contraception being available, the county has only seen a 17 per cent cut in teenage pregnancies - way below the 45pc target set by the government.

Councillors have been told that the reduction has been primarily down to fewer live births but the abortion rate is continuing to increase.

Sharon Singleton, the lead commissioner for children, young people, and maternity services for the county council and the NHS in

Suffolk, said more needed to be done during school holidays to help pregnant teenagers.

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She said: “There is a national 50pc reduction target for under-18 conception and Suffolk's target is 45pc.

“The latest data shows that Suffolk has a reduction of 17pc from the 1998 baseline, using the Office of National Statistics data to measure the rate of conceptions per 1,000 young women aged 15 to 17 and is an amalgamation of birth registrations and data from abortion providers.

“Nationally as well as locally, the reduction has been primarily in live birth rates while the abortion rates have risen.

“This is unacceptable in that free contraception is available for all young people.”

“School nurses, reproductive and sexual health nurses, youth workers and the voluntary sector are being trained to provide information and guidance to young people in schools.”

Suffolk has 13 high schools in areas of high teenage conceptions which have a school-based health service.

It is hoped that campuses on new schools in the county will feature specialist health care and advice units.

But Ms Singleton said that school-based health services are only available in term time, Monday to Friday, during the day and revealed the council is considering how this can be extended after school and at weekends.

The UK has the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe - statistics show there were 41.9 conceptions per 1,000 15 to 17-year-olds in 2007 - up from 40.9 the year before.

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