Teenage abortion rate rises in Welwyn Hatfield
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Teenage abortions in Welwyn Hatfield are at a 14-year high, new figures have revealed.
The rise in terminations is mirrored by a drop in conceptions – which are at an historic low, according to Public Health England.
Of the 36 under-18 conceptions in 2012, the most recent figures available, 66.7 per cent led to abortions – the largest recorded since 1998.
In 1998 40.9 per cent of the 44 girls who fell pregnant had terminations.
Chairman of the Welwyn Hatfield Alliance, councillor John Dean, said: “The Welwyn Hatfield Alliance has supported the countywide ambition to reduce conception rates among under-18s.
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“The figures underline the importance of continuing to help young people understand the life-long implications of the choices they make.”
The abortion trend is borne out across the county, with 60.6 per cent of the 368 teenagers who fell pregnant opting for termination in 2012.
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In 1998 only 47.1 per cent of the 588 under-18s had abortions.
“The percentage of terminations is reducing at a good rate and we are continuing to target vulnerable groups around these issues,” said a County Hall spokesman.
“We are also working closely with sexual health service providers to ensure swift follow-ups following a termination and best advice on contraception.”
The authority highlighted a drop in pregnancy in the county, which fell by 21 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011, meaning 96 fewer girls under 18 became pregnant.
Herts’ teenage pregnancy rate for 2012 is 17.4 per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 17, and remains well below the national average of 27.7 girls per 1,000 and a regional average of 23.2 for the same period.
Richard Roberts, Herts County Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Our figures in Hertfordshire have gone down significantly over the last 15 years.
“I’m proud to say our success is due to the commitment and vital partnership working which is at the heart of what we do.
“Working together with partners and service providers has enabled us to run effective training and education programmes.”