In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme recommended that July 11 be observed by the international community as World Population Day. As the world population continues to climb, the implications are profound. The focus for 2013 – Adolescent Pregnancy.
It’s reported that approximately 16 million girls under the age of 18 give birth each year. Another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions. While many of these girls in developing countries are married, pregnancy is still not an informed choice. Those bundles of joy may be the result of discrimination, rights violations in the form of child marriage, poor education, or sexual coercion.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six women who are victims of domestic violence report that their partner first abused them during their pregnancy. Under the best of circumstances, pregnancy can be stressful and put a strain on relationships. It’s unlikely that pregnancy will reform an abusive partner.
Women’s reproductive health has been a hot topic for quite some time. Its profile rises when political debate about health care and choice take the stage. What can frequently be lost are truly purposeful parenting and the social justice and shared goals and values that could bring us all together. This World Population Day, we focus on adolescent pregnancy with the intention of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled, and we can all flourish.
Then, perhaps, at the end of the day, like the old woman, we can “kiss them all soundly and send them to bed.”
WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO YOU WANT TO POPULATE?
Ifeoma U. Aduba