An inquiry into teenage pregnancy has today been launched by the Health and Sport Committee. The inquiry will ask if action being taken in Scotland is sufficient to bring about real and sustained reductions in unplanned teenage pregnancy. It will also investigate what support is available for those most at risk of teenage pregnancy or who have a baby when they are very young.
Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:
“The statistics are clear - Scotland has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. Particular regions of our country are affected by this issue, which is more prevalent in areas of deprivation, and can have a long lasting effect on generations of young women and their children.
“Whilst there is general consensus over the fact that we need to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, it is clear that there are no quick fixes or easy answers.
“Both local and national strategies are in place to try to reduce teenage pregnancy, but this inquiry will try and see if they are working, particularly because the reasons behind teenage pregnancy are complex and often linked to a number of factors.”
Deputy Convener of the Health and Sport Committee Bob Doris MSP said:
“This inquiry is about trying to get the views of a cross section of organisations – from those in the NHS and nursing and midwifery professions through to the social workers and children’s charities to determine if Scotland can do any more to tackle this issue. Our Committee is also keen to hear from those who have first-hand experience of teenage pregnancy.
“Where innovative initiatives have been successful in reducing the rate of teenage pregnancy, the Committee will be looking to determine if this can be replicated in those parts of Scotland that are trying to tackle their rate of teenage pregnancy.”
The Committee has issued a call for evidence and is asking those submitting evidence to address the following questions:
- Do you have any views on the current policy direction being taken at the national level in Scotland to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy?
- Do you have any views on the action being taken at local level by health boards, local authorities and other relevant organisations to reduce teenage pregnancy, particularly in the under 16 age group?
- What are your views on the relationship between higher levels of teenage pregnancy and socio-economic inequality?
- What are the barriers and challenges to making progress in achieving positive change in communities that might lead to reductions in the levels of teenage pregnancy?
- What are your views on the current support services available to young parents / young mothers, e.g. range of services, focus of services and whether services are being delivered in the most appropriate settings?
- Are there specific approaches to reducing teenage pregnancy that are not currently getting sufficient attention in order to affect positive change for children and young people?
To submit written evidence to this inquiry please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for responses is 7 February.
Teenage pregnancy refers to conceptions that take place between the ages of 13 and 19 years but the main policy concern is with preventing pregnancy among young women aged under 16 years.