Posted: November 12, 2015 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY

Pregnancies Fall in the UK as Emergency Contraceptive Use Increases

There are many advantages of providing greater access to emergency contraception including a decrease in unplanned teenage pregnancies.  In the metropolitan borough of Wigin, high numbers of teen and underage EC users shows that this initiative appears to be working.

A total of 250 underage girls were given EC at emergency clinics in 2014 – 2015. To put this in more tangible terms, it equals about 35 girls out of every 1000 ranging in age from 13 to 15.

The Wigin borough has historically had higher teen pregnancy rates than other areas. According to, the number of pregnancies under 18 has now fallen by 49.4% from the 1998 baseline. This proves an even great reduction than 47.8% for England, 45.1% for North West and 48.2% for Greater Manchester.

Additionally, the number of pregnancies in girls under 16 has fallen 40.5%.

In total, 7,511 underage girls in the UK were dispensed EC by a community sexual health center at least once. This doesn’t include any EC purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by general practitioners so the numbers are likely even higher.

Cases like this exemplify one of the many reasons that health care professionals, women’s advocates and politicians have rallied to allow women to gain greater access to emergency contraceptives.

The social and economical impacts of high teenage pregnancy rates continue to gain notice and fuel the need to offer comprehensive women’s health care.

Adverse Effects of Teen Pregnancy as reported by 

  • By the age of 22, an average of only 50% of teen mothers have their high school diploma and only 30% have their GED. (By contrast, 90% of women who haven’t given birth receive their diploma.)
  • Roughly 10% of teen moms complete a two or four year college program.
  • Teen dads have a 25% to 30% lower chance of graduating from high school.

Teen pregnancy not only can adversely impact the parents, but the children as well. The following are potential complications for children born from teen moms.

  • increased risk of low birth weight and higher chance of infant mortality.
  • lower levels  of cognitive stimulation and emotional support.
  • less prepared when entering kindergarten.
  • more reliant on publicly funded health care.
  • higher rates of foster placement.
  • greater chance to give birth in their teenage years.
  • lower school achievement and higher rate of high school drop out.
  • higher chance of unemployment and incarceration as teens.