Global Impregnation. 

Last week, an intriguing proposition was mooted by Government minister Dawn Primarolo.

Teenage girls, she said, could be steered towards what is described as "long-term contraception".

This is now possible thanks to the development of contraceptive jabs and implants which can last up to five years.

In other words, there is a way of effectively sterilising girls for a lengthy period of time.

At what age? Well, doesn't 12 until 17 sound rather sensible?

This would have the advantage of bringing down the teenage pregnancy rate, so high in this country it makes us a disgrace among the nations - the worst offenders in Europe.

The abortion rate would fall sharply. And silly young girls could get on with the education that is meant to produce serious, responsible taxpayers, not benefit recipients.

Now, many people will see this modest proposal as little short of horrific - nothing less than state interference in our reproductive lives.

But think about it: it might not be such a bad idea.

We are moving into a science fiction age in which life itself can be created in a test tube, and it seems that, before long, perfect babies could be bred at will, largely free of hereditary disease and illness.

So, in my view, there is little point any more in feeling shock-horror at the idea of mass sterilisation.

Neither do I believe it will encourage "promiscuity" because girls will feel they have nothing to fear in sleeping around. In truth, they seem to be doing that already. I'm afraid we are now in a time when sex is mere recreational pleasure to thousands of young women.

The trouble is that pregnancy no longer holds the fear for teenagers it once did. The social stigma has gone.

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