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Facts and Figures
Research published in 1998 showed Britain with the highest proportion of unmarried teenage mothers in the world. 87% of babies born to 15-19 year olds in 1996 were outside marriage, compared to 62% in the USA and 10% in Japan (Alan Guttmacher Institute).
Latest available figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 62.3 in every 1000 15-19 year old women became pregnant in England and Wales in 1997.
The estimated number of conceptions to girls under 16 fell 6% to 8.9 in every 1000.
Nearly three quarters of these conceptions were to 15 year old girls.
The ONS figures show the likelihood of a pregnant teenager having an abortion decreases with age. In 1997, 63.5% of those under 14 who became pregnant had an abortion; among 14 year olds the figure was 59.1% and for 15 year olds it was 48.6%.
In an international comparision of teenage birth rates, England and Wales topped the European league. The Netherlands had the lowest teenage conception rate of developed countries - one seventh of that in England and Wales.
22% of 18 and 19 year olds and 15% of 16 and 17 year olds used emergency contraception (the morning after pill) at least once in the previous two years (Source: Office for National Statistics Omnibus Survey, March 1999).
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