Correspondence with Mrs Gill Frances, chairwoman of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group.


phone: 01970-880-416        4 Cefn Melindwr
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e-mail:        Aberystwyth
website:       SY23 3LS.

                                                                                                                               17 December 2009.

Mrs G. Frances OBE
Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group
Department for Children, Schools and Families
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street


Dear Mrs Frances,

I have just read the Sixth Report of your Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group.  I almost wept.

I have followed the development of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy from its inception.  Back then, I claimed that it would never work, and indeed, nine years and some £300m later, I have been proved right – that gives me no comfort.

Your Report states that, ‘The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy is excellent and works very effectively when it is implemented properly.’  I cannot believe that a decrease in conception rates of just 11% (or at best, 26%) after all these years, can ever be described as either ‘excellent’ or ‘effective’.

One of my main criticisms of the Strategy has been that it expects teenagers will have sexual intercourse.  To counter this (false) assumption, the Strategy relies on the promotion of explicit sex education, free pills (contraceptive and morning-after) and condoms.  In other words, it equips our children with everything they need to start a disastrous life of multiple relationships, unplanned pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections.

I see virtually nothing in the Strategy about delay, respect, or, least of all, abstinence.  I know the Government sneers at abstinence, yet, in theory, it must work.  Surely, by now, it is time to conduct a proper trial of abstinence.  Merely continuing to fund the failed old Strategy, with a few novel additions, is never going to halve that conception rate. It is a counsel of despair.

So here is my proposition.  I know enough sensible people, who are currently working with teenagers and who deliver a radically different approach to sex education, teenage pregnancy and abortion.  Is it not worthwhile (even, about time) for us to get together and present you with our alternatives?

What do you think?  Please let me know.

Yours sincerely,


Dr John R. Ling.


----- Original Message -----
From: Gill Frances
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 9:12 AM
Subject: response to your letter 17.12.09

Dear Doctor Ling
Thank you for your letter dated 17th December 2009.
The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy  is  for England alone. Its policy and practice is based on national and international evidence. As you probably know there is no evidence that abstinence methods work. Many millions of dollars were used in evaluating the  abstinence methods previously used in America. Now that the  evaluation findings have been released the American government is developing a broader approach to reducing teenage pregnancy.
I am so sorry that I can't meet with you. It isn't appropriate  for me to meet with you because I can only speak about the English teenage pregnancy strategy.
Please can I suggest that you request a meeting with relevant people  within the Welsh administration.
Yours sincerely
Gill Frances
Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group


From: Dr John R. Ling
To: Gill Frances
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 9:53 AM
Subject: response to your letter 17.12.09

Dear Mrs Frances,

Thank you for your e-mail.
I am sorry that I was not sufficiently clear in my original letter (sent,17 December 2007) - my 'sensible people, who are currently working with teenagers' all live in England.  Can they now meet with you?
    John R. Ling.


From: Gill Frances
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 10.52 AM
Subject: response to your letter 17.12.09


Dear Dr Ling
I would be happy to meet - please let me have some dates and times which I can choose from. Please can we also meet in London.
 yours sincerely