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12 / 02 / 2010 - Schoolgirls aged just ten falling pregnant as underage pregnancies continue to rise
Girls as young as ten are falling pregnant, shocking new figures have revealed.
Over the past eight years, no fewer than 15 girls found they were expecting when they were aged just ten. A further 39 found out they were pregnant when they were 11.
Since 2002 there have been 63,487 pregnancies among under-15s in England and Wales: a total of 23 conceptions every single day among girls too young to legally have sex.
Despite millions of pounds of funding, Labour still has not managed to turn round Britain's shameful record at the top of the teenage pregnancy league table in western Europe.
The figures show that despite the numbers of underage pregnancies falling off after 2002, they are now on the rise again. In 2007, the latest figures, the number of pregnant under 16s was 8,200 - higher than the 2002 figure.
Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: 'We are reaping the bitter consequences of our highly sexualised society.
'The manufacturers and retailers of goods that encourage children to dress and act in a sexually precocious way must take a share of the blame, but so too must those sex educators who are more interested in getting young people to use contraception than they are in discouraging them from engaging in sexual activity in the first place.
'There are far too many schools telling children that they are entitled to become sexually active when it is "right for them" and teaching them that they are being very responsible if they use contraception - regardless of their age.
'As a result of this grossly irresponsible approach, some children are becoming sexually active at an early age when they would not otherwise have done so.
'Not only is amoral sex education producing more schoolgirl mums and spiralling rates of sexually transmitted infections, but it is also leaving growing numbers of young people carrying emotional baggage into adulthood that will make it more difficult for them to build a truly intimate, trusting and stable marriage later on.'
The figures, released after a Freedom of Information request, show that between 2002 and 2007, there have been 268 pregnant girls aged 12; 2,527 aged 13; 14,777 aged 14 and 45,861 aged 15.
But the figures could be just the tip of the iceberg - as many young children could have had or miscarriages or illegal abortions meaning they never show up on the official statistics.
Some 60 per cent of underage girls who fall pregnant end up having an abortion, with the number believed to be higher among younger girls. Shockingly, one in 20 teenagers who fall pregnant end it with an abortion which is at least their second.
Professor Frank Furedi, a sociologist from Kent University, described the figures as 'tragic'.
'They show the consequences of the sexualisation of childhood,' he said.
Anastasia de Waal, of think tank Civitas, said: 'We have kids behaving as adults, not realising the complications.
'Often the girls feel they have to have sex to please their older boyfriends.'
Figures on the number of teenage boys in this situation are harder to come by as it is often not known who is the real father.
The Government's £300million Teenage Pregnancy Strategy has missed its targets so far and is certain to fail to reach its main goal - halving the 1998 rate of pregnancy among girls aged under 18 in England by 2010.
Last year rates went up and there were more than 40,000 under-18 conceptions in England.
Source: Daily Mail