80% of teen pregnancies in Latin America and the Caribbean are unintended

For UNFPA, the problem in the region evidences the lack of public policies that recognize sexual and reproductive rights for women
About 1.4 million adolescent women in the region underwent unsafe abortions in 2016 – Photo: AP
18/10/2017
10:10
Colombia
Gillermo Reinoso Rodríguez
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In Latin America and the Caribbean, four out of five teen pregnancies- young people between 15 to 19- are unintended, indicating that about 54,694,000 women are pregnant in the region, according to the State of World Population Report  titled Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights in an Age of Inequality presented yesterday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in London.

While the report recognizes that overall, there has been considerable progress in the region, it warns that there have been two consecutive reports that place Latin America and the Caribbean as the only region in the world in which pregnancies among girls under age 15 increased 10%.

For UNFPA, the problem in the region goes beyond poverty, since it evidences the lack of public policies that truly recognize sexual and reproductive rights, thus creating a series of social and economic difficulties for women.

Unintended teen pregnancies carry serious consequences for women and their families, including the possibility of unsafe abortion, delayed prenatal care, poor maternal mental health, and poor child health outcomes.

According to Federico Tobar, UNFPA's Regional Reproductive Health Commodity Security Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean, for more than 30 years, the vast majority of family planning programmes are target married women instead of teenagers.

Among girls and young women, nearly four out of ten pregnancies ended in abortions, generally clandestine ones. It is estimated that 1.4 million adolescent women in the region underwent unsafe abortions in 2016, revealing a serious public health problem.

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