Boys the Target in Drive to Cut Teenage Births
Byline: BEEZY MARSH
TEENAGE boys are to be shocked into facing their financial responsibilities as fathers in a campaign to reduce the number of babies born to young mothers.
Health ministers alarmed by Britain's high teenage pregnancy rate, the worst in Europe, are to warn boys in a series of hard-hitting advertisements that they must pay the price for their carelessness.
The campaign, to be launched next month, is taking a new tack because efforts to target girls are failing to halt the rising numbers of teenage mothers, many of whom are still at school.
Television and poster advertising will spell out the hard facts of becoming teenage fathers, including a warning that they face enduring maintenance bills for their children's upkeep, even if they are no longer in a relationship with the mother. In England and Wales, there were 101,500 teenage pregnancies during 1998, compared with 85,000 during 1994.
Nearly two thirds of girls go on to have their babies, meaning an estimated 64,000 children are born to teenage mothers each year. Many of them rely on benefits to support their new family.
Latest figures show more than six per cent of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant while the number of teenage conceptions has risen by nearly 20 per cent over the past four years.
Many teenage boys fail to maintain a committed relationship with the girl they have made pregnant, and in some cases go on to father children by several young women, without supporting any of them. …