Thursday, July 11, 2013

Adolescent Pregnancy on World Population Day 2013

The focus of this year's World Population Day is on Adolescent Pregnancy. As reviewed in a message from the UN Secretary General, about 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year. Another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions. Issues including sexual coercion and child marriages, make adolescent Pregnancy a prescient issue. High rates of juvenile pregnancy are often about a lack of informed choice. These young mothers and their newborns experience higher levels of heath risks than do adults.  The offspring of adolescent girls also face a host of factors that disadvantage their prospects for the future.

As explained in a message from the Executive Director of UNFPA, young women have the power to transform our world. However, they are commonly deprived of the right to make an informed choice about pregnancy, which often undermines their ability to control their destinies.

Education plays a key role in helping women to better manage their lives. An educated women is "more likely to marry later, delay childbearing until she is ready, have healthier children, and earn a higher income."

Specifically, education on sexuality and comprehensive health services that address family planning and STDs are also important.

When they are not deprived of their right to make choices about their futures, women can be an even more powerful force to help improve the state of our world.

As stated by the Executive Director of UNFPA, "let us pledge to support adolescent girls to realize their potential and contribute to our shared future."

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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