Teen Pregnancy Rates Face Barrier

Society's reluctance to speak openly about sexuality is a major barrier against reducing teenage pregnancies, MSPs have been told.

The view was given by Glasgow City Council in a submission to Holyrood's Health Committee, which continues its inquiry into the subject today.

The council, which will be joined by other local authorities in parliament this morning, said: ``Our culture does not lend itself to being open about sexuality and sexual development, a fact heightened further when the needs of children and young people are being discussed.

``At all levels and strata in society, and within organisations, promoting a positive sexual health agenda is hard work and takes time.

``In addition, sexual health is competing with a whole host of other priorities that frequently get more attention. What therefore happens is that the pace of change is slow and piecemeal.''

The authority conceded that requests for more cash will not be popular but pointed to apparent success in England.

``At a time of economic strain, the call for financial resources will not be a popular one, however change processes, even at their most basic, take time and money,'' the submission continued.

``The progress that was seen in England was achieved, in part, following multi-million investment over a sustained period.

``There is also a need for better co-ordination in the development of services and in the allocation of finances across all partners at national and local level.''

Today's meeting follows a separate submission urging the Scottish Government to consider making the morning-after pill available in schools.

School nurses could dispense condoms and emergency contraception, which would help towards reducing teenage pregnancy rates, the Scottish Sexual Health Lead Clinicians Group suggested.