Teenage pregnancy is always a lovely subject for those who enjoy a little controversy. In the United Kingdom, if one government agency gets its way, schools could soon be organizing prenatal classes for pregnant students. According to the agency that proposed the student prenatal classes for teen moms to be are deeply necessary because many pregnant students feel unable to call on their family doctor when they discover they are pregnant, for fear of being judged. We really love the UK's government agency "NICE", or National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. They always bring us gems to write about, like proposals for breathilizer tests that could help women who smoke while pregnant, or free fertility treatments for post-menopausal women. Their latest proposal to set up prenatal clinics in schools in areas that have high teenage pregnancy rates is another one that has already caused its fair share of controversy.
Christian family activists argue that this proposal essentially normalizes teen pregnancy, and even encourage it. Social researchers Patricia Morgan says: "We need to decide what we are trying to say to teenagers. Is pregnancy at this age right or wrong? Is the aim of the Government s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy simply to make teenagers happy about it?" But NICE representative Dr Rhona Hughes counters: It would not be appropriate for many teenagers, 18, 19, and 20-year-olds, but we did find examples in the literature of good practice where clinics were held in schools and young women were more likely to access care.
All in all, I think that schools do play a role when it comes to teenage pregnancy to educate, offer facts, and even counseling. But prenatal classes? Would those not be more appropriately offered by hospitals, or family planning facilities? The United Kingdom already has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in all of Western Europe. I don't know if this proposal, if realized, would boost those rates even further, but it definitely would not do anything to make them drop. What are your opinions?