Thursday, July 11, 2013
July 11 is World Population Day. More than 7 billion people now live on the Earth. World Population Day focuses on issues relating to our growing population. The United Nations Population Agency (UNPA) has chosen the issue of adolescent pregnancies as the focus for World Population Day 2013.
According to the UNPA, approximately 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year. 19 out of every 100 girls give birth under the age of 18; 3 of those 19 are under the age of 15. Another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions.
Ninety percent of pregnant adolescents in the developing world are married. But for many of these girls, pregnancy is a consequence of discrimination, rights violations (including child marriage), inadequate education or sexual coercion. Thus, it is a human rights issue. Adolescent pregnancy often means an abrupt end of childhood, a curtailed education and lost opportunities.
Adolescent pregnancy also is a health issue: the youngest mothers face a heightened risk of maternal complications, death and disability, including obstetric fistula. Their children face higher risks as well.
On World Population Day 2013, UNPA wants to raise awareness about the issues surrounding adolescent pregnancies "in the hopes of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled."