Today it was reported that under new proposals, restrictions on condom advertisements would be relaxed and information from the Pregnancy Advisory Services could be advertised on television.
This is long overdue, we cannot afford to be reserved about these things. It seems the government is finally understanding this, that every effort has to be made to try and reduce teenage pregnancies. That is not to say that teenage mothers aren't good parents. I know many young mothers that do an amazing job, but there is an epidemic in this country.
Teenagers need to be educated in the importance of using condoms. There is so much ignorance going on amongst young people and we can't afford to let it happen. We already have advertisements for condoms on television but these are only on channel four and most are after the 9pm watershed. Yet these advertisements convey an important message. Two of recent relevance refer to the use of condoms to prevent STIs (Condom: Essential Wear) and the 'Want Respect, Use a condom' campaign. The respect campaign involved teenagers the morning after a sexual encounter spilling the details to their friends, and how when they revealed the didn't use a condom they lost respect from their peers.
I think its important to get hard hitting messages like this out into the open. I was lucky enough to have good sex education at my school, but not all students are as lucky. Also, it is easy for pupils to take the lesson as a joke and laugh with their peers. We know that the majority of young people use the television as their main information outlet, and this is where they get most of their sexual knowledge from. Yet in television dramas, how often do we see anybody use a condom? How often do they get pregnant or contract STIs? It happens, but not often.
The pregnancy advice services advertising would also include information about abortions. There is no doubt that this will cause much debate amongst pro-life supporters but that option needs to be out there. These advertisements wouldn't promote abortion, they would just face women with another choice.
I really hope these proposals go ahead. In Europe, sex is much more out in the open and their rate of teenage pregnancies are nowhere near as high as our own. Further education about sex to young audiences and openness is our society is the only way anything will ever change. Sex is everywhere we look, so what is the problem with providing further knowledge to the young?