First things first, with the election fast approaching,this is not a criticism against The Labour party, nor is it a criticism against teenage single mothers.
All that's on my mind is; why is it that Wales holds the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in not only the whole of the United Kingdom, but throughout the whole of Western Europe?
In 2007 Tony Blair mantra was "EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION" I want to add the word "Sex, Sex ,Sex" in front of those 3 magic words of our former Prime Minister. Also, I don't think this is solely the case as I feel some young women,as statistic prove, often in low social economic status' feel that by having a baby is a way of not only getting an array of benefits. these benefits including Child Benefits, of 20.30 GBP per week as well as a maximum of 2,300 GBP on Child tax credit and Income support, meaning support whilst your a single mother, or on a specialist training corse. The specialist training corse isn't spoken about on the website or books, so what I would like to know is, what are the courses one has to do to get the support should they need to leave home, and not look at giving birth to a child and raising them alone, an option or a lifestyle choice.
This is not a slant against people who want to be mothers, or have the for the inevitable of a separation. It is merely an observation from living in Wales, and being a product of a teen pregnancy myself, who's parents are still together and happily married. But for those young women, who have plenty of time to have a child after they reach puberty, whom choose to have a baby to escape their lives, be it for emotional reasons or to get a house.
I mean, income support only offers young people help with housing and living cost if they're 16 to 17 and pregnant. Not 16 - 17 and want to better themselves by getting a job and wanting to actively move out and better themselves and the economy. What is this UK government doing? It's almost easy to say to young women, " have a child, its not worth working because we will look after you."
Again this is nothing against babies who are born with teen mums, but many young women look at being a single mother and living on benefits as a lifestyle choice.
Surely the government should lay out the harshness that not always do young people get a house straight away, nor is it always going to be in a good area. But then again some young women may see the outlook as : "At least I will have my own place."
The former Prime Minister quoted:-
"Teenage mothers are less likely to finish their education, less likely to find a good job, and more likely to end up both as single parents and bringing up their children in poverty. The children
themselves run a much greater risk of poor health……."
Tony Blair – Prime Minister
This was the forward written by Tony Blair, to the ‘Teenage Pregnancy
Report’ published by the Social Exclusion Unit in 1999.
The attempted solution on this should not only be on more sex education, but EMPOWERMENT! Make the girls in areas such as the Valleys in Wales, For example with Merythr Tydfil, "between the ages of 15-17 there are 73.5 conceptions in every 1000 girls" and the Rhondda Cynon Taf in 2008 there were "59.2 conceptions in every 1000 girls" the second highest in Wales.
My advice for the next PM:- Make these young women feel EMPOWERED.EMPOWERED.EMPOWERED!!
If they feel they have a self worth, yes they may look to having a baby, but give them other options and alternatives. More stress on activities, health, EXERCISE. EXERCISE.EXERCISE!
Just to note:- this is not a criticism on The Labour Party, nor is it a criticism on teen pregnancies, it just concerns me as a young welsh woman of 23, why some people feel that having a child is a way to escape life, be it for whatever reason or to have one just for benefits and freedom from a problem at home. However I don't know anyone's situation and am not in a position to judge, just wanted to make the government aware that they should make other options for those young women who think they can only get a house and escape home if they have a child, and see living alone and getting pregnant as a way out. A baby is for life, not just for benefits!
If you need any advice on sexual health, or any related issues in the UK or world wide, check out this website to find your local family planning clinic, for free confidential advice, no matter what your age.