A government survey by England’s Department of Education has revealed that one in five sexually active teenage girls in England has been pregnant by the age of 18. The survey, the first of its kind, reported that 83 per cent of girls had lost their virginity by age 18, and that 18 per cent of these girls have been pregnant at least once. More than 1,300 18-year-old girls have been pregnant three times. Figures released earlier this year revealed that pregnancy rates for girls 18 and under in England were higher in 2008 than they were in 2001. The data has reignited the controversy over Britain’s teenage pregnancy rate, which is the highest in Western Europe. Family values campaigners have criticized easy access to contraception and poor-quality sex education that doesn’t teach abstinence for fueling the problem. Girls are less likely to have been pregnant by 18 if they did well at school and their parents have degrees, and children who live with both parents are half as likely to engage in under-age sex, according to the study.
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