60% of public believes sex education is important in preventing teenage pregnancies, according to survey by Babes

60% of public believes sex education is important in preventing teenage pregnancies, according to survey by Babes

With the number of teenage births showing a downward trend over the last decade with a total of 289 babies born to teenage mothers in 2018, the lowest in a decade, a study by local non-government and social service organisation Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support (Babes) has found that a majority (60%) of respondents recognise that sex education is important in continuing to manage the issue of teenage pregnancies in Singapore.

The study, which was commissioned by Babes and completed by Blackbox Research, had 1,000 respondents between the ages of 15 to above 55 responding to questions pertaining to the issue of teenage pregnancies in Singapore.

“Young girls’ vulnerability to pregnancy can be attributed to a diverse range of internal and environmental factors. Each can sometimes influence each other, and in addition these factors also interact with social beliefs,” said Christina Vejan, Executive Director at Babes.

The results of the study showed that a majority of respondents regarded sexual education as very important.

Of the respondents surveyed, a total of 63% of respondents felt that there was insufficient or that they did not receive information on sex education. 96% of respondents also felt that this education should be provided in schools.

Most respondents also believed that reducing the stigma about sex and providing more information and education about contraceptives can help reduce unwanted pregnancy among teenagers.

A vast majority of 76% of respondents agreed that better access to contraceptives will help reduce the instances of teenage unplanned pregnancies.

The study also found that the youth in general were least comfortable to have conversations around topics regarding intimacy with family members and even though teenage sex was in the top three concerns of teenagers, teenage pregnancy was one of the lowest ranked concerns, among youth themselves.

“The entire pregnancy crisis is an overwhelmingly emotional experience that causes a lot of distress and trauma to young girls, with society also exerting a lot of pressure on them because of their situation,” added Ms Vejan.

Besides that, the study showed that an overwhelming majority of respondents (81%) expressed that pregnant teenagers should be empowered to decide on the outcome of their pregnancy.

70% of respondents also agreed that pregnant teenagers deserve support from their families and friends, including parents, who expressed support to their pregnant teenagers – albeit hypothetical pregnancies – even if there was any disagreement between them.

“The study and research gave us very important insights into how the public views the issue of teenage pregnancies, and also provides us with lots of perspectives moving forward, as we find ways to continue to work with our stakeholders and partners to help pregnant teenage girls who need help to journey through their pregnancies,” noted Ms Vejan.

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