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Why sexual health services need protection

Teenage pregnancy in the UK, which is almost always unplanned, is at a forty year low, following intensive efforts by public health bodies in recent years. Yet it remains high by international standards. This isn’t surprising when one looks at comparative behavioural studies from the Lancet and WHO. UK teens are more likely than most of their continental peers to go in for binge drinking and early sex and less likely to use condoms. There may be all sorts of reasons for this; however, an obvious policy response is to maintain a heightened level of sexual and reproductive health services. There are indications that these are starting to be affected by spending cuts in the UK; indeed it would be surprising if they were not. This is a false economy; unplanned births at a young age often lead to poorer life outcomes for both the mother and the child and lead to long term welfare dependency. This is one area where we must invest now to save money later.