Forum addresses teenage pregnancy


THE fact that teenage girls are more than likely to be turned away by medical professionals if they desire birth control or to seek any other sexual and reproductive service can only hurt society in the long run.
“So we can consent to sexual intercourse, but we cannot access birth control should we want to take precautionary measures against pregnancy. Well, we can conclude that if girls do not have access to services to prevent pregnancy, the probability of her having unprotected sex is increased, ergo so is her chance of experiencing a teen pregnancy,” said Secretary of the Youth Advocacy Movement, Tamaira Rowe.
Rowe noted that Latin America and the Caribbean still have the second-highest rate of adolescent pregnancies, representing a grand total of 20 per cent of live births from adolescent mothers.
Pointing out that teenage pregnancy puts young girls at higher risk for developing medical issues such as high blood pressure and preeclampsia than non-teen mothers, premature babies and low birth rates, she underlined that teenage mothers were also at a higher risk for falling below the poverty line due to being eligible for only minimum wage and low-paying jobs.
“This is a direct result of the vast majority of them having to leave secondary school, some without earning certificates, thus making their employment eligibility very limited. Many either don’t get to go back to school or unable to do so, as their priority now is working to support the new life that they have to take care of. Teenage mothers are less likely to pursue higher education after having a baby because: 1. They are pre-occupied with raising a child; and 2. They can no longer afford to continue their studies. While some may have a strong support system, which allows them to go on to reach their highest potential, this is not the case for many and this severely cripples the contributions they can make to the wider society.
“This is not to say that becoming a teen mother is the end of the world, or something that a teenage girl cannot overcome and go on to realise her dreams and goals, but the reality of it is that her journey becomes much more complicated and difficult and if we don’t provide the necessary support and access to information and services that she needs to help her regain control of her life and we lose the potential of our girls to unintended teenage pregnancies, how then will they be able to be the strong leaders of tomorrow?” Rowe insisted.
At the time, she was delivering the feature address at a roundtable session at the UN House for World Population Day. (JMB)

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