UN Report On Adolescent Pregnancy


The United Nations released a report today highlighting the high rates of pregnancies of teenage mothers and problems surrounding adolescent pregnancy, especially in developing countries. The report reveals that about 7.3 million adolescents become pregnant every year, and the early pregnancies usually affect the rest of their lives as far as education, employment, and social life are concerned.  When a girl becomes pregnant when she is only 14 or younger, this affects her health directly and sets a complete bar for the continuance of education.  She also needs to work to provide for the baby but entering the workforce for an adolescent mother is not an easy task to accomplish.  The governments fail to provide sufficient education and guidance as well as adequate health services.

Moreover, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin points out that when these early pregnancies occur, the society usually blames only the girl for getting pregnant, but the reality is completely different.  He draws our attention to the fact that girls who are 14 or younger do not often make this choice freely but the circumstances and conditions usually force them to behave that way.  He further states that when the situation is beyond one’s control, she is forced to make a decision.

In addition, the report provides several examples by giving the names of specific countries regarding how early pregnancies affect the country’s economy.  Among others, it mentions Kenya, Brazil, and India.  The report further provides recommendations to those countries about preventing early pregnancies and encourages in increasing efforts for fighting with this global problem.  The report urges countries to adopt a holistic approach and stop trying to change adolescents but change the society’s approach against these young mothers.

Despite the fact that adolescent pregnancy is more common in developing countries, the report also reveals that it is still a serious issue in developed countries as well. The report explains how the United States could be considered as one of those countries where teenage pregnancy is still a problem.  The statistics show that in the United States, only half of the girls who become pregnant as adolescents actually finish high school.  The report again points out that this situation has a huge impact on economy as a whole in the United States as well.

Regardless of whether a country is being considered as “developing” or “developed,” it seems to me that teenage pregnancies present a serious issue even today.  The governments do not seem to be successful in preventing such early pregnancies or providing sufficient education about the consequences of early pregnancy, which could possibly cause serious health issues.  In addition, the societies still seem to ignore or exclude teenage mothers because they still have the same mindset that keeps telling them it was their “choice to become pregnant.”  However, I believe that one should consider why and how these young girls find themselves in such situations before simply blaming everything on them and reaching to an easy conclusion to isolate themselves instead of actually taking the blame or doing something for them. I think that if the governments start being more effective in providing guidance and education about the problems that come along with early pregnancies and also educating the families about how to react if their daughter becomes pregnant, these young girls will be more aware about the consequences of early pregnancy and even if they become pregnant, their life will not be as hard as it is now with regards to the society’s acceptance and employment opportunities.

Do you think that the UN report and its statistics will urge the countries to take positive steps in preventing early pregnancies?  Even if these young girls become pregnant, do you believe that the societies’ approach against them will change or it will stay the same?  Should the “developed” countries be a role model for “developing” countries in dealing with this problem and presenting a permanent solution?


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  1. I believe that countries worldwide need to take a more proactive role in decreasing the amount of adolescent pregnancies. I believe there should be more education, more awareness raising, easier access to health services, birth control, and less victim blaming. I believe that there is certainly an element of force and of young girls finding themselves in situations that they are unable to control. Therefore, those girls should have the right to choose. With that right comes a need for guidance and responsibility.

    With that said, I do not believe that every instance of teenage pregnancy is a result of one of the situations I just mentioned. I find it necessary to impute responsibility not only on the teenage girl and boy, but also on both of their parents. Parents, these days, in general, have taken a back seat to raising their children; there is an overwhelming notion that the government and school should be responsible for raising a child. But really, it is not the case at all. Parents brought children into the world and they should be responsible for caring, teaching, and guiding their children through life and maybe even get a little tough with them! It should be just as much as the parents’ role to prevent teenage pregnancy as it is their children.

    The burden of prevention, therefore, should not single-handedly be placed on the government or society.

  2. The double edge sword to the society problem is that in most cases, the girl gets blamed for getting pregnant, but before the situation even arises societies such as Brazil and Kenya have a male dominant attitude prevalent in the society. The 14 year old girls mentioned in the article that rarely have a choice in the matter do not because those societies are skewed towards the male being the alpha and the female being the subservient. With this attitude, when a girl gets a pregnant she is blamed to keep the male blameless in an obvious two person act. I can think of the example of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban just for advocating for the right that girls get educated. When women in such countries are educated and freely participate in democracy, the alpha male society is under attack.

    Prevention of such a problem is not laid on the doorstep of one party. The Government and parents should be providing real education and serious talks to their children as they near adulthood and become able to procreate. Once they do and not treat a serious problem as taboo, then the parties (of both sexes) can be blamed for ignoring the education and warnings they received. The goal of parenting is to provide a better future for your children than you had and to love them so they can be good people that make the world better. However, if the institutions fail to shed proper light on the issue, the futures of both mother and child are severely hampered, which is a disservice to them and society.

  3. Babies having babies. This is what is happening to society. I think that society somewhat encourages young adolescents that it is not bad to engage in sex at an early age. Shows like Sixteen and Pregnant and Teen Mom glamorize pregnancies in young, immature girls. This is very sad. Some girls who get pregnant when they are young think that there is nothing wrong with being a young parent because there are girls becoming celebrities on television for doing the same thing. One of the girls in the show was offered a deal to do a sex tape. I feel that parents and schools need to take an active role in informing teenagers about sex and pregnancies. If teenagers are better educated, they will take more precautions. When schools say sex is bad, students become more interested in doing it because it is something forbidden. Sex needs to be broken down to students where they explain that it is not all bad, but there are risks and precautions that responsible people should take to avoid these risks.

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