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For others, reasons include: contraception failure, not thinking, getting caught up in the moment, believing they couldn’t get pregnant, not feeling comfortable obtaining contraception, being drunk, feeling pressured to have unprotected sex, and being too embarrassed to ask a partner to use contraception.
However, there is a common assumption, (likely to be expressed by those who have never experienced a teenage pregnancy), that teenagers get pregnant to receive benefits or housing; that it’s an “easy way out” so they don’t have to get a job, and that by removing such incentives the number of teenage pregnancies will drop.
This myth of young mothers enjoying a luxurious lifestyle on benefits encourages a focus of blame and disdain for young mothers, which isolates them further.
Removing the limited benefits that some young mothers are entitled to (such as the proposals to remove housing benefit for under 25s) can only succeed in taking agency away from young mothers who are already making their own sacrifices to make up for a time when they didn’t have choices.
In September this year Conservative MP Amber Rudd officially launched a cross-party inquiry looking into the issue of unwanted pregnancy in the UK.
The inquiry was set up in the backdrop of two apparently “striking” trends: The inquiry has so far received little media attention, yet it is a real opportunity to ensure that new voices are heard.