Black Women the Focus of Move to Curb Teenage Births
Byline: JULIE WHELDON
YOUNG black women are to be the focus of a Government campaign to cut teenage pregnancy rates.
Ministers are urging local authorities to find better ways of teaching the girls the importance of contraception and the advantages of delaying motherhood beyond their teenage years.
Britain currently has the highest teenage conception rates in Western Europe with 39,545 pregnancies among under-18s in England in 2004.
In 1999 the Government introduced a teenage pregnancy strategy to halve rates by 2010. But it has now emerged that since then teen pregnancies have soared by 43 per cent in some areas.
Rates of young mothers are significantly higher than average among black, Caribbean and mixed white/black Caribbean groups.
Black British girls also have proportionally more abortions - accounting for nine per cent of total terminations on women under 18 even though they make up just three per cent of the population between 15 and 17.
Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said the rises in teen pregnancies did not appear to be linked to deprivation.
Yesterday she issued guidance to encourage authorities to do more to tackle the issue - including suggesting they improve services aimed at girls from black and ethnic groups.
Speaking about these girls, Miss Hughes said: 'There are some groups, for example Bangladeshi girls in Tower Hamlets, where teenage pregnancy rates are much lower than the norm.
'There are other groups where the rates are much higher than the norm.'
The report states higher rates of teenage pregnancy among some ethnic groups are partly due to differences in behaviours and attitudes. …