Efforts to persuade teenagers to have safe sex and to use health-screening services seem to be having a positive effect. Looks like that bloke who said "education, education, education" might have gotten something right after all. So, if you have a teenager, here's ten things you need to know before they become sexually active.
This year on World Population Day let us celebrate the unrivalled success that humankind has had in making the world its home, and in enabling civilisation to thrive... It's in all of our interests for us to achieve what we agreed in London a year ago. Let us make the pledges of the London Family Planning Summit a reality.
Sex is a part of life, and women need to be aware of how they can effectively use contraception - and more vitally, how said contraception may not directly contradict their religious views. People live and die by the way governments and religions alike try to sweep debates on sex and contraception under the rug - so it's time to stop dismissing these topics as 'taboo'.
We see women who have become pregnant not long after giving birth, not realising how quickly fertility returned, or after misinformation about the protection breastfeeding provides against pregnancy. Sadly we also see women who simply haven't been able to negotiate contraceptive use with a reluctant partner, as well as women for whom a much wanted pregnancy is no longer possible after a dramatic change in personal circumstances. A recently conducted audit of all women contacting bpas for advice in 2011 found nearly two thirds were using contraception, including condoms, pills, patches and coils, when they became pregnant.
In reality no-one is "pro-abortion," but rather we, along with the mainstream populace of the vast majority of the developing world, are "pro the right to abortion." Each woman should be allowed and empowered to make her own decision as to whether she continues her pregnancy - according to her health, her morals, her religion, her resources and all the other circumstances she finds herself in.
We know that there is a gap into which a minimum of 200million women fall because their needs for contraception are unmet. Getting condoms, pills and other supplies onto the ground is one essential part of what needs to be done to deal with this. But it is only one side of the coin. If women are to be able to make use of these then we need to also tackle the flip side of the coin - the gender inequality and unequal power relations between men and women which mean that women and girls often cannot decide when or whether they have sex, including whether contraception is used.
I work for BPAS, the UK's largest abortion provider, talking to women about and performing abortions up to the legal limit every day. Someone has written that a woman wants an abortion like an animal stuck in a trap wants to chew its leg off. While the imagery is melodramatic, it conveys the panic and stress an unplanned pregnancy can impose. It also communicates something of the relief experienced by women after their abortion; this is one of the things that make being an abortion provider so very rewarding.