EDITORIAL: Teenage pregnancies
The Population Commission’s disclosure that a 12-year-old girl became a mother should be cause for concern among Cebuanos whether they be in Metro Cebu or in the countryside.
The circumstances behind the girl’s pregnancy were withheld for her privacy but the report confirms the increased risk of teenage girls being rushed into motherhood without any means to support their child on their own which means double the burden on their parents.
The agency’s solution is an intensified awareness campaign and age-appropriate sex education for teenagers which would mean an introduction to the Reproductive Health Law.
That’s something that both the Church and the provincial government are taking into consideration, more so that the Cebu Archdiocese fought and lost the battle against the enactment of the RH law but doesn’t intend to lose the war for the hearts and minds of the faithful.
What the Population Commission report did disclose is that the girl gave birth in a hospital in Bogo City, northern Cebu. Whether it be in the countryside or in Metro Cebu, the likelihood of teenage girls getting pregnant in either areas is about the same though urban teenagers have more access to contraceptives and condoms which are frowned upon by the Church.
Aside from this, urban teenagers have more access to social media and the Internet which is a treasure trove or a cesspool of information about how to have “safe sex”, depending on which side of the fence one sits in.
In the case of the Church and greater majority of Cebuanos, who happen to sit on the conservative side of the fence, Christian values are honored above all else even in the privacy of the bedrooms.
We understand that there is a proposed ordinance for sex education to be included in the curriculum of Cebu’s schools that is mandated and regulated by the province.
By mandated we mean sex education that is shaped by Catholic values and teachings which promote abstinence from sex unless it is sanctified by marriage. And that marriage won’t be the shotgun variety but one between partners of legal age who can support themselves.
But in an information era with increasingly liberal attitudes towards sex and easy access to birth control devices, the environment encourages teenagers to experiment and test boundaries.
It’s a tough job for the Population Commission to counter these many forces in play as they implement their education campaign with or without the help of local government units and the Catholic Church.
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