Teenage pregnancy could be defined as a girl attaining motherhood before she reaches the legal age of adulthood. Rates of teenage pregnancy in Jamaica are among the highest in the Caribbean, with females between the ages of fifteen to nineteen years of age being responsible for one hundred and eight births per thousand women. Females between the ages of ten and nineteen account for twenty-five percent of births in Jamaica, and twenty-two percent of births between fifteen to nineteen year olds are second pregnancies. Contrary to popular belief the teenagers involved are not the only ones at fault. These pregnancies are a result of other un-addressed issues surrounding them. These issues stem from three things: religious teachings as it relates to sex, family environment and peer pressure. These are the major influences within an individual’s life.
Christianity is the dominant religion in Jamaica. Christianity’s approach to sex is abstinence only, despite the unsuccessfulness of this strategy. The Ministry of Health the statement was made that, “Early sex initiation is not a new fad and children are fully aware of this. In fact, many of us reading this article are products of teenage mothers or parents who were continuously taught about abstinence and valuing self but still engaged in early sexual relationships. On average, the age of sexual initiation in Jamaica for girls is 15 years and 13 years for boys, with some as early as nine years old.” Religious beliefs play a big role in this. Our churches vaguely inform our youths on sex, STD’s and contraceptives. Picture sexuality as the fruit God forbade Adam to eat. Adam had no knowledge of what the fruit or was why he wasn’t supposed to eat it.
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