The Sunday Times' (Perth) reported today that a record number of young girls in Western Australia are having abortions.
According to article, 44 girls aged 14 years or younger terminated a pregnancy last year. This figure is more than double the number six years ago, when 20 girls had abortions. Abortion Grief Australia state director Julie Cook said that some of the girls were as young as 12.
Edith Cowan University psychology lecturer Bronwyn Harman, researcher of teenage motherhood, said that in a lot of cases young girls dating older boys or men were pressured into sex.
"Girls are being pressured to adopt adult behaviour at an earlier age than previous generations and that that pressure can come from boys their own age or, in a lot of cases, from older men who are predators and bullying them into sex" Dr Harman said.
"It can also come from the premature sexualisation of girls in the media and marketing gone mad", acccording to Dr Harman.
Ms Cook added that girls who had abortions were 3.6 times more likely to abuse hard drugs and twice as likely to be binge drinkers later in life.
"Thirty nine per cent of women who had an abortion had another later in life" said Ms Cook in the interview.
The article goes on to say that opposition child protection spokeswoman Sue Ellery called on the Government to reveal its plans for improving sex education.
"This Government is big on talk but slow to act - We need to invest in better and more effective education for young children about sexual relationships. We need to be a lot more pro-active in making sure that all young people know about contraception" Ms Ellery said.
Deb Garratt, CEO of Real Choices Australia, said that an investigation should be required into whether these abortion providers followed regulatory mandatory reporting guidelines for the protection of these girls.
"How many of these abortions are undertaken to protect perpetrators? How much choice did these young girls really have in deciding to have sex, or in deciding to have a termination? It is interesting that Sue Ellery, in response to this story, is concerned about young people knowing more about contraception. In cases of child abuse, which is all it can be called when 12 year olds are getting pregnant, surely contraception only serves to better hide the crime" Ms Garratt said.
"Young people have the right to an education that teaches them how to advocate for themselves in situations of such coercion. Not the same old 'safe sex' message and handing out of condoms that simply makes them feel that they are the ones abnormal if they aren't 'doing it'. The fact is, most of them are not having sex.. and we do little to resource and support them to make healthy lifestyle choices" Ms Garratt concluded.