England has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe. The British government, faced with this problem, decided to act. Now, it might have acted by pushing abstinence and seeking ways to encourage intact families. Concerned, though, that this would have been just too Victorian and moralistic, the British government opted for a different approach: it decided to teach teenage girls how to have sex. The results were predictable (emphasis mine):
A multi-million pound initiative to reduce teenage pregnancies more than doubled the number of girls conceiving.
The Government-backed scheme tried to persuade teenage girls not to get pregnant by handing out condoms and teaching them about sex.
But research funded by the Department of Health shows that young women who attended the programme, at a cost of £2,500 each, were ‘significantly’ more likely to become pregnant than those on other youth programmes who were not given contraception and sex advice.
A total of 16 per cent of those on the Young People’s Development Programme conceived compared with just 6 per cent in other programmes.
The British government is not wholly to blame. Apparently it was modeling itself on a New York based program that also claimed that by having the government prepare girls to have commitment-free sex, it had reduced teen pregnancies. That seems to have been, to put it nicely, a lie:
The failed YPDP, launched in 2004, was based on a similar scheme in New York claimed to have significantly reduced teenage pregnancies.
However, attempts to replicate the work elsewhere in the U.S. did not lead to a fall in teenage pregnancies, casting doubt on the project as a whole.
I seem to recall reading that the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program that swept the nation had similar results. Rather than training kids away from drugs, it taught them to be more adept at using them.
Remind me again why people the world over, despite seeing the government fail time and time again when it tries to micromanage things, especially morality, are so desperate to place ever more power in government hands?
UPDATE: After a rather fraught night during which I dreamt that my beloved iPhone fell into a hippopotamus pool at the zoo (and, gosh, would I love to know the Freudian significance behind that one), it was a distinct pleasure to wake up and find all of you Hot Air visitors. Welcome! Your presence gives me the chance to break out the obligatory, but too infrequently used, “While you’re here, look around, see if you like and, as Jed Clampett would say, ‘Y’all come back now!'”
UPDATE II: Phibian took my dream and brought it to vivid life. You have to check it out!