Teenage pregnancy rates: high compared with where and when?

DA Lawlor, M Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In the past decade teenage pregnancy has become a key policy area in several industrialized countries. During the 1990s, both Britain and the USA identified teenage pregnancy as a national public health issue, alongside cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health, requiring targeted interventions.1,2 A reason for this concern was that rates of teenage pregnancy were perceived to be higher than those in other developed countries2,3—a notion that has been taken up and inflated by the media. For example: `Britain... has a sky-high level of teenage pregnancies.' [Daily Mail, 8 March 2001] `The sexual behaviour of our children and teenagers has now reached such unprecedented levels of recklessness and damage that it is becoming a horror story running out of control.' [Daily Mail 28 June 2002] In our opinion, such claims are based on selective comparisons. Here we argue that, contrary to the way in which it is frequently presented, the teenage pregnancy rate in Britain is neither high nor dramatically increasing.
Translated title of the contributionTeenage pregnancy rates: high compared with where and when?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121 - 123
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004

Bibliographical note

Other identifier: PMC1079321


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