Monday, 23 August 2010


Researchers from University College London have found a correlation between the increasing amount of booze young women consume and both the rising frequency of abortion and the use of morning-after contraception in the UK. The report published in the Journal of Public Health said also an increasing number of survey respondents blamed alcohol for losing their virginity, which they later regretted.
Legacy Of The Ladette screeched the Daily Mail’s Saturday front page as its story provided another opportunity for Middle England to despair at today’s younger generation.
A quick Google of the appropriate surveys suggests that patterns of sexual activity among the young are broadly similar across Europe. But contraception use is not. Our abortion rate is way ahead of most other countries on the continent.
The UCL study supports evidence that UK youth culture favours getting hammered on a night out more than anywhere across the Channel. When alcohol hits the brain, commonsense takes a hike. In a sexual situation fear of pregnancy and disease are abandoned.
Although sex education is probably taught better abroad, improved information programmes will count for nothing if British kids continue to have unprotected sex because they are too liquored up to care about the consequences.
I’m not absolving the couples whose recklessness caused the need for 200,000 abortions to be performed in England and Wales last year but Britain has a drink problem as any hospital night-time A & E will testify, which is not the exclusive preserve of the young. As for abstinence – sexual and alcoholic – the latter would be easier to promote.
For a start New Labour’s liberalisation of drinking hours has to be scrapped. Minimums for the unit price of alcohol have to be introduced into supermarkets and off-licences where controls against its sale to the under-aged have to be rigorously enforced.
So-called ‘wet pubs’ should be pressed by local councils to introduce food. Finally, all drink advertising should be banned.
Lost revenue to the Exchequer on drink sales should be compensated by the savings to the NHS in having to attend to fewer road casualties, victims of assault, the plain falling down drunk – and abortions.
Yes, by all means defend the age of consent at 16 and encourage the young to wait. But free condom supplies would have a longer-term benefit.
I give scant attention to the promotion of abstinence as an approach to cutting the UK’s abortion rate because I think there would be little profit in trying to distract the urges and curiosity of the young, which are heightened by the sexual tide that floods our youth culture.
I find repugnant the thought that anyone would have unprotected sex in the belief that abortion – the destruction of a potential life – is a trivial procedure. However what is more likely in sexual situations is that all consideration of pregnancy and disease are erased by excessive consumption of alcohol.
Countering easy access to booze would go some way to tackling this country’s social ills including its burgeoning abortion rate. With clearer heads couples might take longer before they jump into bed and take proper precautions when they do.

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