Inquiry’s report into unwanted pregnancies

Group from Respond Academy with MP Amber Rudd at Westminster
Group from Respond Academy with MP Amber Rudd at Westminster

A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into unwanted pregnancy has concluded the key issues that need to be addressed are inadequate relationship education, and inconsistent access to contraception.

The cross-party inquiry chaired by Hastings MP Amber Rudd was launched in September, and last Thursday (December 20) the full report was published.

One of the main conclusions of the inquiry was that school-led sex education failed to cover any sort of relationship guidance.

The views of professional witnesses and young people who gave evidence to the inquiry, were that there is plenty of information available surrounding contraception, but relationship advice is absent.

Ms Rudd said: “We are calling for relationship education in schools to prepare young men and women for adult life.

“Young people need to understand about relationships and the value and importance of their own choices before sexual relations begin.”

The second key issue highlighted in the report is unequal and inconsistent access to contraception, particularly for older women.

She added: “For women over 25 and particularly in the 30 to 35 age group we found contraceptive services were patchy and the rising number of abortions in this age group is largely attributed to the erratic provision of contraceptive services.”

The UK has the highest level of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. There has also been a rise in age standardised abortions in women over 20.

MPs from the three main parties, Amber Rudd (Conservative), Lorely Burt (Liberal Democrat) and Sandra Osborne (Labour) joined together, along with think tank 2020health, to look for ways to reduce unplanned pregnancies.

Jc McFee, project manager at St Leonards-based Respond Academy, was one of the experts called to give evidence.