Fewer teen pregnancies in Belgium

The number of teen pregnancies has fallen ten percent in only five years. The medical publication Artsenkrant says that the drop is due to the introduction of free contraceptives in 2004.

In many western countries teenage pregnancies rise year in, year out. Belgium's sharp drop in the figures is striking.

The Artsenkrant says that one of the reasons for the fall is the decision in 2004 to make contraceptives free of charge for the under 21's.

It was in 2007 that health professionals started to measure the fall. In that year there were 7,842 pregnancies among women and girls aged under 21. Five years on the figure had fallen by ten percent to 7,042.

Katrien Vermeiren of the sexual health organisation Sensoa says that increases and falls in the figures are never due to one factor: "The free contraceptive pill may have played a part, but also the fact that schools devote greater attention to relational and sexual matters. The media too are on the case with campaigns increasing awareness of sexual matters in schools and among teachers."