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?