Recent updates on children’s concerns have highlighted the issue of teenage pregnancy. The Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study stressed that “The victims of teenage pregnancy are the girl herself, her child, her parents and relatives and the national society as a whole.” Many challenges confront the young female: “revealing the situation to her parents, many questions with regard to the child have to be resolved, the financial issues related to the pregnancy,” and many others. A very important point is the interrupted schooling. Many discussions completely ignore the issue of the father of the child, such is very unfair for females. A National
Youth Summit called attention to the critical health risks faced by teenage mothers: “inadequate nutrition during pregnancy due to poor eating habits; dangers associated with the reproductive organs not ready for birth and maternal death due to higher risk of eclampsia among others.” It had also been revealed that “while maternal deaths are decreasing in the Philippines, teenage maternal deaths are increasing. Ten per cent of pregnant teenagers died in the last year.”
The National Youth Summit also revealed that “Teenagers from poor backgrounds are disproportionately represented among pregnant teenagers. Teenage pregnancy perpetuates the cycle of poverty and inequality because most pregnant teenagers have no source of income and face greater financial difficulties later in life. This is because they drop out of school and are less likely to pursue further education or skills training.”
In the National Youth Summit, the background of the teenage pregnancies were “unplanned sexual encounters; peer pressure; lack of information on safe sex; breakdown of family life; lack of good female role models in the family; and lack of adolescent friendly clinics.”
Social conditions have also been considered important causes of teenage pregnancy. “In our world today having sex before 20 yrs. is the ‘in’ thing…which creates sexual relationship among teenagers without provision of comprehensive information about sex.” Other causes include “immature and irresponsible behavior arising due to complex teenage psychology”; “lack of sexual education causes teen to get abortions as they ultimately realize their inability to bear the responsibilities of being a parent”; “lack of attention and affection from family resulting in depression forces them to seek love and support from other people”; “overprotection gives rise to frustration and a feeling of not being loved and cared for.”
Teenage pregnancy is just among the major issues that ought to make us reflect on the quality of our families. What has been their focus? Are we living our Christianity within our families?
Have educational institutions and families worked together effectively to ensure that our children have an age-appropriate, holistic, authentically helpful sexuality education? What have we done regarding the males? What can church people contribute in facing this challenge?
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