Law to tackle teen pregnancy as the frequency continues to rise

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Reproductive health, women’s rights, and youth advocates gathered Wednesday to call for the implementation of the proposed legislation on teen pregnancy in the country.

The newly launched “No More Children Having Children” initiative, led by the Philippine Legislators ‘ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), is also aimed at encouraging lawmakers to review the implementation of the Reproductive Health Act, especially on compulsory comprehensive sexual education.

The circumstances are alarming. Even the United Nations says that among the six major economies in the ASEAN region, the Philippines has the highest rate of adolescent pregnancy and is the only country where the rate is still rising.

At the launch of the campaign in Quezon City, government and civil society advocates stressed the importance of teenage pregnancy issues.

At least 24 babies were born every hour by teenage mothers, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2014.

In the meantime, 1 in 10 women aged 15 to 19 years has started childbearing, according to the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey.

The PLCPD said that giving birth during puberty has negative impacts on young women, their children, and even on societies such as the delivery of unhealthful infants, homelessness, lower educational attainment, and other health problems.

He said the bills dealing with the issue had already been filed in the 18th Congress.

House Bill 2297 by Representatives Sol Aragones and Edcel Lagman to the House of Representatives and Senate Bill 161 by Senator Risa Hontiveros is still pending.

Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez said that the Executive Order declaring the growing number of teen pregnancies as a national emergency is ready to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

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