03, Mar 2018 | CJP Team
The Thomson Reuters Foundation reported that three United Nations agencies–the Pan American Health Organization, the UN children’s agency (UNICEF), and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)–have said that there has not been enough progress in bringing down teenage pregnancy rates in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region has the second-highest rate worldwide. The report said there 66.5 births per every 1,000 girls between 15 and 19 in 2010-2015, while there were 46 births per every 1,000 girls of the same age group globally. The report attributed the high teenage pregnancy rates to limited access to birth control and sexual violence against girls. It called for better efforts to fight back against the rape of girls, and called attention to insufficient access to emergency contraception, care after rape, as well as stringent abortion laws. Moreover, according to Esteban Caballero, the UNFPA’s regional director, “The lack of information and restricted access to comprehensive sex education and adequate sexual and reproductive health services are directly related to adolescent pregnancies”. The UN agencies also held child marriage responsible for teenage pregnancies, and noted that pregnancy and childbirth-related complications were one of the leading causes of death for girls and women aged 15-24 in the Americas. Girls who give birth before age 15 are most at risk of maternal death.