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Novelist says girls are ready to have babies at 14 - huh?

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Author Topic: Novelist says girls are ready to have babies at 14 - huh?  (Read 119 times)
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« on: March 02, 2010, 09:45:49 am »
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From UK Daily Telegraph

Novelist says girls are ready to have babies at 14

Hilary Mantel, the prize-winning author, has opened up a public debate over teenage sex by claiming that girls are ready to have babies when they are 14 years-old.

The 57-year-old novelist said that society ran on a "male timetable" which dictated that women should have babies at an older age.

"Having sex and having babies is what young women are about, and their instincts are suppressed in the interests of society's timetable," she said.

"I think it is that men's lives have set the timetable. Men reach a sort of sexual peak when you are 20, a social peak when you are 40.

"There is this breed of women for whom society's timetable is completely wrong."

Mantel, who won the Man Booker Prize last year for her novel Wolf Hall, said that society was "incredibly hypocritical" about teenage sex and teenagers having babies.

"I was perfectly capable of setting up and running a home when I was 14, and if, say, it had been ordered differently, I might have thought 'Now is the time to have a couple of children and when I am 30 I will go back and I'll get my PhD,'" she said.

"But society isn't yet ordered with that kind of flexibility," she said in an interview in today's Stella magazine.

"We were being educated well into our twenties, an age when part of us wanted to become mothers, probably little bits of all of us. Some were more driven than others."

Last night the writer's views met with a mixed response amid growing concern that Britain still has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in western Europe, despite a 10-year Government campaign to lower the figures.

Sue MacDonald, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "Having a baby is a life-changing experience and 14-year-olds have enough to cope with just being 14.

"Girls of that age can be physically mature but not necessarily psychologically mature to cope with being a mother. It is much harder to be a parent if your own childhood is not complete."

Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, said: "The real issue is not the age at which women become mothers, but whether they are married to a man who is committed to supporting his wife through thick and thin.

"When a child enters the world without a stable family home and without both a mother and father, it's generally not such a happy event – and that is the situation that most teenage mothers find themselves in."

Juliet Hillier, of Brook, the sexual health charity for young people, said teenagers needed to be given "the support, education and skills" to make informed choices about relationships and pregnancy.

A spokesman for the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Taxpayers are concerned about teenage mums, and particularly about a benefit system that offers financial incentives which encourage single motherhood."

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said the suggestion that girls should have children at 14 was "completely out of line" with Government policy.

A spokesman said: "Our strategy is to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and offer age-appropriate sex education to young people. There are no plans to lower the age of consent from 16.

"Young people should delay sex until they are ready. Teenage parents and their children are more likely to suffer health, emotional and economic problems than their peers."

However, there was support for Mantel from Dr Claire Alexander, editor of a study, Teenage Parenthood: What's the Problem?, published this month.

Dr Alexander, of the London School of Economics, said teenage pregnancy could be a force for good since many young mothers were motivated to turn their lives around to provide for their children.

"Young parenthood can make sense and be valued and can even provide an impetus for teenage mothers and fathers to strive to provide a better life for their children," she said.

Last week it emerged that the Government had failed to reach its target of halving the number of teenage pregnancies within 10 years.

The latest figures, for 2008, show that 40.4 of every 1,000 girls aged 15-17 became pregnant, a 13.3 per cent fall from the 1998 rate of 46.6.

There were more pregnancies among girls under 18 in England in 2008 than there were in 2001, and pregnancy rates among girls under 16 have been virtually unchanged for six years.

The Government promised last week to expand sex education and promote contraception, including condom vending machines in colleges and schools.

Mantel, who was born in Derbyshire, was left unable to have children after suffering from a debilitating and painful illness during her twenties.

It was eventually diagnosed as a severe form of endometriosis and the author is now patron of the Endometriosis SHE Trust.

The novelist, who was awarded a CBE in 2006, said that women should be able to choose whether to have children when they are teenagers or pursue a career and have children later in life.

"If there were some paradise for women both those models would be valid," she said.


The woman is a complete and utter moron.....a 14 female is NOT a fully-grown woman...I know for a fact I grew another inch in height from the age of 14 to 21.... I agree about "setting up house" but not about giving birth to a child at 14.

Many early first pregnancies self terminate...

14 year olds are under-educated.....especially as they are babied through earlier childhood themselves....and it all depends on what position they came in a family....for instance, a fourteen yr old with many siblings younger than them are going to know a lot more about raising a baby, than the youngest sibling does...simply by observing what their own mothers did as more babies came along.

There are native cultures that kill the first-born baby as a form of genocide... 14 yr olds do not have the capacity to be independent...so they have to rely on the father of a child to support it/them... or the taxpayer.

What 14 girl should be subjected to a male that ends up, cheating and beating her? A trapped one, that is who. stuck and trapped....with a ruined body...saggy **** and stretch marks.....

Listen to judge Judy go on about working and having five kids...she did it...she went from being a lawyer to judge and successfully raised five kids. Therefore, that idiot Hilary Mantel is speaking out of her bunghole.

The woman Hilary Mantel, is an imbecile.

You couldn't pay me to read the bitches book..
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2010, 11:51:03 pm »
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i totally agree with you caskur

i had my first at 19 and i personally think i was too young then to have a baby.

No way, no how will my children be having sex at 14 much less even THINKING about sex. 
How old are the males having sex with the 14 year old girls?? And where are the said 14 y.o girls parents?? The "authorities" should be asking THOSE sort of questions.

just makes my blood boil...
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"But Awisha is right. I'm a piece of **** and I don't know what I'm talking about. She wins."   -  Whoopteedo 10:11am 18th July 2008

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