The 2022 State of the World Population Report by the United Nations Population Fund defined “unintended pregnancy” as one “that occurs to a woman who was not planning to have any [more] children, or that was mistimed, in that it occurred earlier than desired.”
Experts and advocates from governments and civil societies have sounded the alarm as it was found that on a global scale, nearly half of all pregnancies – about 121 million – are unintended.
“An unintended pregnancy may be simply overlooked as a personal crisis. What we would like to emphasize is that the issue entails staggering national, and even global costs,” pointed out Population and Development Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of the Commission on Population and Development.
“The aftereffects cannot be captured in numbers – including the opportunity costs of millions of women and girls who delay or discontinue their education or workforce participation due to unplanned pregnancies,” he also said.
Analyzing new data, the UNFPA found that some 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy globally are not using safe and modern methods of contraception. New data also showed that about half of all adolescent mothers are child-mothers.
The Philippines joins Bangladesh, Benin, Chad and Indonesia with “more than a fifth of first births to girls under the age of 18” coming from premarital conception that often precedes the marriage of girls.
Additionally, in the Philippines, 36 in every 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19 already gave birth between 2004 and 2020. 71 in every 1,000 women aged 15 to 49 went through an unintended pregnancy between 2015 and 2019. 51% of all pregnancies are unintended which is almost the same as the global average.
Dr. Leila Saiji Joudane, Country Representative of UNFPA in the Philippines, noted that the crisis of unintended pregnancy is a crisis with many facets, as it is a personal, health, human rights, humanitarian and development issue. Women in countries with more equality, empowerment and financial resources are better able to address an unintended pregnancy or avoid it in the first place.
Addressing this unseen crisis will need the combined effort of government, civic groups and individuals to raise up the value of women and girls so policymakers and civic leaders must join hands in leading this endeavor.
Giving Filipino women the education and resources to avoid unintended pregnancies can save many lives from going awry. It is something that our society has to provide for Filipino women in this day and age.*