LONDON—A major birth control group has blamed the rising price of condoms for Britain's table-topping teenage pregnancy and abortion rate.
The Family Planning Association (FPA) said the £1 cost of a condom could also be behind soaring rates of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers, even though health authorities give thousands away free — and at enormous expense to the NHS.
An FPA spokeswoman said: "It's not just teenagers that can't afford them, it's poor people as well. It's a vicious circle because if condoms weren't so expensive more people would use them."
Government trading watchdogs are now to investigate whether the eight per cent year on year increase has been forced by Durex, which holds three quarters of sales in the British market.
But refuting the FPA's claims, Professor Jack Scarisbrick of LIFE added that if the Government was serious about addressing the problem of an annual 94,000 teenage pregnancies the worst in Europe — it would crack down on the promotion of artificial contraceptives to the young.
"It is precisely the value-free sex education that the FPA promotes and the valuefree attitudes to sexual relations that it promotes which are the prime causes of the problem," he said.
"More contraception all round has meant more abortion. It is true everywhere, in every country. All contraception is fallible. Increased use of a fallible instrument must mean more failures.
"The Government should do a complete U-turn on all sex education and teach chastity, respect for the human body and respect for human life from the very beginning. It should curb pornography and send all the birth control agencies packing because they are corrupting the young."