Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Government says cuts to contraception haven't increased pregnancies or abortions

Anne Milton MP
The British government has said that cuts to contraception haven't increased pregnancies or abortions. In a newly-published parliamentary answer (Hansard, 20 Feb. 2012, col. 679W) Anne Milton, the health minister, said that:
"Statistics on conceptions (published by the Office for National Statistics) and abortions (published by the Department of Health) do not suggest that any recent changes to contraception provision offered by PCTs has had an impact on the number or rate of conceptions or abortions."
In a message to the SPUC, Professor David Paton, professor of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, commented on Mrs Milton's admission:
"This admission by the Health Minister is long overdue but very welcome. In 2001, I published a paper in the Journal of Health Economics demonstrating that access to contraception had not had the desired effect of cutting underage pregnancies or abortions in the UK. When asked about my research in the House of Commons, Hazel Blears, the then Minister for Health stated that interventions like 'access to youth contraceptive clinics have been shown to reduce teenage pregnancy rates but do not hasten the onset of or increase sexual activity among young people' and her Government ploughed millions of pounds into increasing access to contraception for young people."
Professor Paton continued:
"Contrary to Hazel Blears’ claims, the peer-reviewed research published both before and since has found little or no evidence that access to contraception and, in particular, emergency birth control (the morning after pill) cuts unwanted pregnancy or abortion rates amongst teenagers. Some 10 years later, it is very gratifying to see the Department of Health finally admitting that restrictions on access to contraception provision do not appear to have an effect on conception or abortion rates. Indeed, despite the reported restrictions to contraception services, the latest statistics (due to be published next week) are expected to show a further decrease in the teenage pregnancy rates."
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