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Cuts to sex education classes in England results in fewer teen pregnancies

England's Big Ben at dawn Credit: Chris Goldberg/Flickr/Creative Commons

England’s Big Ben at dawn Credit: Chris Goldberg/Flickr/Creative Commons

A recent study has stunned the liberal world of sex education. When England announced it would cut funding to its sex education classes in 2010, activists and Liberals alike warned there would be a dramatic rise in unwanted pregnancies as a result.

However a recent study conducted by researchers David Paton (Nottingham University Business School) and Liam Wright (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield) said the exact opposite happened.

Teen pregnancies actually dropped after the cuts.

In their study reported in the Journal of Health Economics, the two researchers looked at the statistics of 149 municipalities between 2009 and 2014.

They discovered during this period where there were cuts to sex education that overall teen pregnancies dropped 42.6% and are now down to levels last seen in 1969.

Ironically, they also noted the biggest decreases took place in municipalities with the highest cuts.

The two stated in their report:

“Contrary to predictions made at the time of the cuts, panel data estimates show that expenditure cuts are associated with a small reductions in teen pregnancy rates.”

During the 1990s, Liberal activists in England hounded governments that sex education classes in schools would lower teen pregnancy rates. However, after implementation pregnancy rates actually skyrocketed in England and by 1999 the country had the highest teen pregnancy rates in all of Europe.

But the UK was not the only place that saw teen pregnancy rates fall when governments cut back sex education classes. The same thing took place in the US.

A similar study found that counties in Texas that cut funding to Planned Parenthood (PPH) operations that provide sex education classes for Texas schools (often starting in kindergarten) also saw their teen pregnancy rates drop dramatically.

The funding cuts resulted in the closing of PPH operations that are heavily dependent on government subsidies. Similar to England, the funding reductions started in 1999 and by 2006, 17 PPH facilities had been closed in the counties where the cuts took place.

According to statistics provided by Texas Department of State Health Services, in 1996, before the funding cuts, those counties had 43 pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 13-17. By 2010, which was two years after the last PPH facility was shuttered, there were only 24.1 pregnancies per 1,000 girls.

Those opposing early sex education have long argued these classes actually puts pressure and the expectation on young, emotionally immature teenagers to have sex. This results in increased rates of teen pregnancy and the statistics seem to back up these claims.


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