Austerity forced England to cut sex education programs. The results should surprise no one.
A new study has examined the results of reductions in state-funded sex education, along with free condoms and “morning after” abortifacients. They were not only able to study what happened after funding was cut, but they were able to compare the results in different locations with different levels of spending reduction. The study demonstrated that government funding of sex education led to more sex, more abortions, and more babies born to unwed teen mothers. Cutting funding reduced all these things.
Between 1999 and 2010 the British government poured hundreds of millions of pounds into expanded access to birth control and sex education through the national Teenage Pregnancy Strategy program. Post-crash austerity cuts in 2008 slashed the program budget by 70 percent. Politicians and activists sounded the alarm: Rates of teen pregnancy would surely jump because of the funding cuts.
Instead, England saw a nearly 50 percent drop in the under-18 conception rate between 2007 and 2015, to the lowest level since 1969, leading the study’s authors to conclude government initiatives to reduce teen pregnancy may be “counterproductive.”
“Put simply, birth control will reduce the risk of pregnancies for sex acts which would have occurred anyway but may increase the risk among teenagers who are induced by easier access to birth control either to start having sex or to have sex more frequently,” wrote the study’s authors, David Paton from the University of Nottingham and Liam Wright from the University of Sheffield.
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