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Preventing teenage pregnancies

The spike in teenage pregnancies in the country has led the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) to call for the full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law.

According to the latest report released by the Commission on Population, almost seven girls aged 14 and younger are giving birth in the country every day. Additionally, births among girls aged 15 years old and below went up by 7 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year.

“This alarming rate would be unchanged and could even increase during the pandemic,” PLCPD executive director Rom Dongeto said.

PLCPD also pushed for the passage of Senate Bill 1334 or the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Bill, authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros. The bill aims to give young people, especially women, to have greater access to services and programs to educate and motivate them to pursue safe, progressive and healthy lifestyles. A counterpart bill has been filed at the House of Representatives by Rep. Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba.

“Teenage pregnancy takes away the future of our young girls and restricts them to reach their full potential and make decisions that affect their own lives. Moreover, challenges like this are made more stark in times of crisis like the present pandemic,” Acosta-Alba said.

If it takes a village to raise a child, the same effort is also necessary for preventing teenage pregnancies.Parents, teachers, relatives and government working closely together can raise our society’s young women to be aware and responsible of the causes and impacts of unplanned child bearing, as well as the measures that can be taken to prevent it. Proper education and access to available options is key and the Reproductive Health Law, if fully implemented, should be able to play a significant role in achieving that goal.

The pandemic has forced millions of these vulnerable kids to stay at home. As far as teenage pregnancies are concerned, that can be a good thing or bad thing. However, government shouldn’t stop working to protect the country’s young women from the surprise burden of teenage pregnancies that could change the course of their lives forever.*

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