For almost a year following Victoria Gillick’s appeal court victory in 1984, under-16s were unable to obtain contraception without parental consent. The sex-education establishment and contraceptive industry protested that teenage pregnancy rates would rocket. But they didn’t. While under-16 attendances at family-planning clinics went down by a third, teenage conception rates remained the same, suggesting that the restriction on contraceptive services to under-16s led to a fall in underage sexual activity.
“Abstinence teaching doesn’t work,” Toynbee asserts, while sex education “taught well” can serve as the panacea for any number of social ills. But this all prompts the question as to what “work” and “taught well” mean.
Really interesting article on The Guardian website: “Don’t believe the contraception industry: sex education doesn’t work” which slates Polly Toynbee and others who claim the small reduction we have seen in teenage conception rates “may be partly due to easier emergency contraception from local pharmacies”. It doesn’t seem to have lots of constructive thoughts, but more a rant at Polly Toynbee for her criticism of their study. But do go and look at the article, here are some snippets: