Teenage Pregnancy in the Philippines

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This addresses unplanned teenage pregnancy from a human-rights-based perspective. Many programs focus only on the negative aspects of young people's sexual and reproductive health; putting rights at the centre of teenage sexual health avoids treating adolescents as a homogeneous collection of discrete problems. Taking a rights-based approach to adolescent sexual and reproductive health encompasses the inter-relationships and complexity of factors influencing choices and decisions. In this, we explore the meaning of a rights-based approach and examine its implementation in the provision of sexuality, education and health services.

It is a story that may not be too pleasant, but one that is repeated all too often: teenage pregnancy.

Some 16.5 million Filipinos belong to the 15-24 year old age group. We are forced with a glaring truth that at a very young age, a lot of young people today have children of their own. 30 % of all births belong to this age group; and by the age of 20, 25% of the youth are already mothers.

Statistics show that every year at least 64,000 teenagers have abortions, and those are statistics from a country where abortion is illegal, yet we claim we are Catholics, who are preserving and valuing life.

We might say that the pregnancy of these teenagers is just the mere result of the gratification of sexual urges. Yes we might say that. That pregnancy would not occur if studies had been prioritized instead of the relationship of the opposite sex. That if there were no premarital sex (PMS), there would be no pregnancy. On one simple glance, we would judge these teenagers guilty. Period.

As a whole, the situation is grim for pregnant teenage girls ands their babies. Forced with few options with nowhere to turn to, many girls find various ways to get rid of the fetus. In a few cases, some simply disguise their bellies and hide their pregnancy from everyone, and deal with the baby only at the time of birth.

These things often happen because of the seeming lack option for pregnant teenagers; because of the supposed shame that the pregnancy brings, many would rather deal with it on their own rather than involving their family and friends. One can just imagine the impact pregnancy would bring to a pregnant teen. Even married couples experiences fears when pregnancy arises, how much more for the young teenagers.

Pregnancy is a gift. The baby is a miracle, a great gift and treasure from God. Pregnancy is not a sin neither a crime. It is merely a result of a consummated relationship; pregnancy may not be planned by man but has long been laid out in the perfect plan of our Creator.

Pregnancy during the teenage years is a bombastic situation, one that comes unexpected. For a student facing unintended pregnancy, the physical, emotional and spiritual issues can seem overwhelming. Teenage pregnancy may have been the result of the lack of supervision from parents, though blaming is nonetheless helpful if pregnancy presents itself.

It may sound so idealistic or what, and it’s up to all of you to decide for yourself, but I really do believe that in our own little ways we have to do something to make the world a better place, and not a bitter place to live in. God love us so much, and it’s up to us to spread that love to the people who needs it more.. and most.

1“Teenage pregnancy are on the rise,” says Ella Bartolome, Kaisahang Buhay Foundation’s head social worker. “When we started in 1975 only a handful of our clients were below 21.” Bartolome has had clients as young as 21. The foundation takes in an average of 130 unwed mothers every year. The vast majority are simply ordinary girls, from all economic classes, who become pregnant and whose boyfriends for one reason or another cannot or will not marry them.

1 Josephine M. Cruz et. Al., Sex and The Single Adolescent (Experincing Powerful English II: Sibs Publishing House INC.,...
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