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Action call as abortions rise

PUBLISHED: 15:12 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:54 23 August 2010

SEXUAL health experts are calling for better education as figures for teenage abortions reach an all-time high. The number of girls aged under 18 having terminations in West Kent has risen by 14.3 per cent to 16 per 1,000 over the last year according to

SEXUAL health experts are calling for better education as figures for teenage abortions reach an all-time high.

The number of girls aged under 18 having terminations in West Kent has risen by 14.3 per cent to 16 per 1,000 over the last year according to Department of Health statistics. National figures remain higher at 20 per 1,000 but show a slower rise of just 9.3 per cent.

Health workers say more must be done to fight the rising levels of teenage pregnancy.

Julie Bentley, chief executive of fpa, formerly the Family Planning Association, said: "Now must be the time to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory and taught in every school in the country.

"Younger women are making different choices about their lives and choosing abortion over motherhood, but education and contraceptive services will stop them becoming pregnant in the first place."

While the National Curriculum does makes provisions for sex education experts say more emphasis needs to be put on the social and personal aspects of the subject.

Ruth Herron, strategy co-ordinator at Kent Teenage Pregnancy, said: "SRE is in schools but it is often put in the science curriculum as the science of having sex. What we want them to do is to make sure they build upon that and talk about relationships.

"The students want to know about that softer stuff like resisting peer pressure and how to say no not just the biology.

The statistics for West Kent show that the highest incidence in abortions is among 18 and 19-yearolds with 34 per 1,000 having terminations over the last 12 months. Last year a total of 222 under 18s and 244 18 and 19-year-olds had abortions in the region.

The overall figure for women having abortions in West Kent remained stable at 18 per 1,000.

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