Wednesday 16 July 2008

Young people reap Government's bitter harvest

At least two news articles today highlight the fact that rates of sexually transmitted diseases in teenagers are at a record high (The Independent and Guardian). This is hardly surprising. Nor is it particularly new. The Government’s strategy of promoting birth control, including abortion, as some sort of panacea for society’s ills is not solving any problems. The victims of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy are not only growing numbers of unborn children being killed daily, but also the teenagers themselves.

There is hard evidence for this, as I have mentioned before. Professor David Paton, who holds a chair in Economics at Nottingham University, has shown in a paper entitled "
The economics of family planning and underage conceptions" (this paper is not available free online, but if you would like a copy please contact me) that family planning, and increased access to it, increases the likelihood that teenagers will engage in sexual activity. Prof. Paton says: "I find no evidence that greater access to family planning has reduced underage conceptions or abortions. Indeed, there is some evidence that greater access is associated with an increase in underage conceptions..."

Elsewhere, Prof. Paton discusses a principle which in the insurance industry is called “moral hazard”. The principle is that the greater the level of coverage afforded by any insurance scheme the more likely the insurance holder will be to take chances. Applying this principle to the current debate, Prof. Paton explains: "For those youngsters who are not opposed in principle to abortion, it provides a way in which, if pregnancy occurs, birth can be avoided, i.e. if pregnancy occurs either through failed or non-use of contraception, there is a possible let out clause."

As much as the Government would like us to believe that their policies are evidence-based, the truth is that they are driven by an ideology proving harmful to our teenagers. The Government is sowing the seeds of family breakdown and public health catastrophes, and the public, particularly young people, are beginning to reap the harvest.