Teenage abortions spike following summer holidays

2010-01-14 12:11

ABORTION clinics and counsellors say they are preparing for an

increase in the number of teenagers seeking to terminate their unwanted

pregnancies following the month-long school holidays.

And a number of school principals say in their experience teenage

pregnancy among school girls is increasing each year and too much leisure time

and excessive partying over the holidays are contributing factors.

According to abortion clinics there is an annual spike in the

number of terminated pregnancies between late January and early February as it

took girls about a month to realise they had become pregnant over the December

vacation.

Spokesperson for abortion clinics Marie Stopes SA, Jock Strachan,

says figures gathered from 2007 to 2009 show there was a 7% increase in the

number of under-18s seeking abortions at the end of January as compared to the

rest of the year.

Strachan says Marie Stopes SA terminated 933 pregnancies in 2007,

1?329 in 2008 and 998 last year.

He says, while unwanted pregnancies are often due to a lack of

supervision over the holidays, parental guidance, peer pressure and lack of

education about the consequences of sexual activity.

However, Pregnancy Help Centre manager Norma Theron says May is

usually their busiest month, and June their quietest, but she can’t explain the

reason for this.

A principal at a city bowl school who does not want to be named

says last year 20 learners, mostly in grades nine and 10, at the school became

pregnant.

“They are in the experimental phase and don’t know about

contraception,” he says.

Last year on Valentine’s Day he called a learner into his office

because she was visibly pregnant.

“She pointed out five other girls also,” he explains.

He says he even once had a learner miscarry in his office.

As a result, he says the school is starting an initiative together

with the Chapel Street Clinic wherein learners will be taught about

contraception and given contraceptive devices.

Athlone Secondary School principal Howard Mackrill says presently

10 to 15 learners between the ages of 15 to 16 usually get pregnant during the

school year compared to about five or six a year a decade ago.

 – West Cape News


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