Human Rights: Teenage Pregnancy in the Philippines Research Paper

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This addresses unplanned teenage pregnancy from a human-rights-based perspective. Many programs focus only on the negative aspects of young people’s sexual and reproductive health; putting rights at the centre of teenage sexual health avoids treating adolescents as a homogeneous collection of discrete problems. Taking a rights-based approach to adolescent sexual and reproductive health encompasses the inter-relationships and complexity of factors influencing choices and decisions. In this, we explore the meaning of a rights-based approach and examine its implementation in the provision of sexuality, education and health services.

It is a story that may not be too pleasant, but one that is repeated all too often: teenage pregnancy. Some 16. 5 million Filipinos belong to the 15-24 year old age group. We are forced with a glaring truth that at a very young age, a lot of young people today have children of their own. 30 % of all births belong to this age group; and by the age of 20, 25% of the youth are already mothers. Statistics show that every year at least 64,000 teenagers have abortions, and those are statistics from a country where abortion is illegal, yet we claim we are Catholics, who are preserving and valuing life.

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We might say that the pregnancy of these teenagers is just the mere result of the gratification of sexual urges. Yes we might say that. That pregnancy would not occur if studies had been prioritized instead of the relationship of the opposite sex. That if there were no premarital sex (PMS), there would be no pregnancy. On one simple glance, we would judge these teenagers guilty. Period. As a whole, the situation is grim for pregnant teenage girls ands their babies. Forced with few options with nowhere to turn to, many girls find various ways to get rid of the fetus.

In a few cases, some simply disguise their bellies and hide their pregnancy from everyone, and deal with the baby only at the time of birth. These things often happen because of the seeming lack option for pregnant teenagers; because of the supposed shame that the pregnancy brings, many would rather deal with it on their own rather than involving their family and friends. One can just imagine the impact pregnancy would bring to a pregnant teen. Even married couples experiences fears when pregnancy arises, how much more for the young teenagers. Pregnancy is a gift.

The baby is a miracle, a great gift and treasure from God. Pregnancy is not a sin neither a crime. It is merely a result of a consummated relationship; pregnancy may not be planned by man but has long been laid out in the perfect plan of our Creator. Pregnancy during the teenage years is a bombastic situation, one that comes unexpected. For a student facing unintended pregnancy, the physical, emotional and spiritual issues can seem overwhelming. Teenage pregnancy may have been the result of the lack of supervision from parents, though blaming is nonetheless helpful if pregnancy presents itself.

It may sound so idealistic or what, and it’s up to all of you to decide for yourself, but I really do believe that in our own little ways we have to do something to make the world a better place, and not a bitter place to live in. God love us so much, and it’s up to us to spread that love to the people who needs it more.. and most. 1“Teenage pregnancy are on the rise,” says Ella Bartolome, Kaisahang Buhay Foundation’s head social worker. “When we started in 1975 only a handful of our clients were below 21. ” Bartolome has had clients as young as 21. The foundation takes in an average of 130 unwed mothers every year.

The vast majority are simply ordinary girls, from all economic classes, who become pregnant and whose boyfriends for one reason or another cannot or will not marry them. 1 Josephine M. Cruz et. Al. , Sex and The Single Adolescent (Experincing Powerful English II: Sibs Publishing House INC. , 2002), pp. 119-120 “Once you start petting and kissing, you don’t know when to stop,” says Gloria Gonzales, who founded Kaisahang Buhay. “After a certain point, there’s no turning back. ” According to Bartolome and Gonzales, they have observed some patterns emerging. Many of these girls come from broken homes, unhappy homes,” says Gonzales. “A number of them get pregnant as an unconscious way of getting even with their parents. Many are emotionally insecure. They look for love and find it in physical contact with another human being. ” “If a 15-year old gets pregnant, it’s not the end of the world,” says Gonzales. “But it’s a setback. It takes more time for her to get back into the mainstream. In a way the girl is deprived of a normal growing up period. Unless she opts for adoption, she’s no longer the carefree teenager.

She may want to go out with friends but she cannot because she has to stay home and take care of the baby. Her growing up is accelerated. ” “It also upsets the family structure,” she adds. “The girl makes a grandmother out of her own mother before she’s ready for it. Her siblings are affected. There’s also the effect of hiya. Some still feel compelled to hide the girl until she delivers. After a while, the unwed mother learns to accept her condition. But it takes longer for her family. ” “The sex drive is a powerful drive created by God,” says Gonzales. “It is beautiful.

But it has to be used in context, otherwise it is a time bomb. ” The time bomb is already ticking. According to studies conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI), teenage pregnancies have been steadily increasing since the early 1970s. “Today’s adolescents are at a confusing transitional stage wherw they continue to beleaguered by an intensive exposure to sensual media materials, pre-marital sexual activity, high incidents of unprotected sexual encounters, and little knowledge of when pregnancies can occur,” reads a policy paper prepared by Aurora Perez of the UPPI. Expectedly, the confusion results in the increasing numbers of unwanted, unplanned teenage pregnancies. The 1988 Philippine health statistics show that 37 percent of total live births numbering 1,565,372 were pregnancies reported among women aged 15-24. This proportion adds up to about 580,392 live births to young mothers, 8. 2 percent or 128,355 of which were among teenage mothers aged 15-19. ” Health authorities have long known that teenagers face a greater risk when they get pregnant because they have yet to become fully mature physically. A high proportion of maternal death occurs to mothers below 15.

Some of these deaths were caused by complications from unsafe abortion procedures. The babies born to teenage mothers are also at risk. They are more prone to be born to teenage mothers are also at risk of dying in infancy than those born to mothers aged 20-24 years. A Roman Catholic bishop blamed the mass media and the Internet and their emphasis on sex for the increased teen pregnancy in the country. Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista of the Diocese of Boac in Marinduque said the media’s emphasis on sex had encouraged early sexual activity among teenagers. “People from across the county are so exposed to television shows containing disturbing messages and images. And it really has a negative effect on our youth,” he said in an article posted Friday night on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. Evangelista, also cited the growing influence of the Internet, where regulation is almost nil, as another easy way for teens to find sex-related materials. A recent World Bank report showed that the Philippines is among the top 10 countries with high cases of teen pregnancy.

Other nations with high teenage motherhood cases are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Peru and Zimbabwe. The report came amid an intense debate over 2 http://www. cbcpnews. com(September 26,2008) the impending passage of the reproductive health bill, which upholds the use of contraceptives and instigation of sex education. Evangelista stressed that problems such as teenage pregnancy cannot be resolved simply by making contraceptives available or merely teaching sex education. It’s not about teaching them about sex but the formation of conscience… what is morally right and wrong,” he said. The Church considers pre-marital sex as well as sexual relationships outside marriage as sinful. A study published Monday claimed it had established for the first time a link between TV programs with sexual content and teenage pregnancies. Researchers interviewed 2,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 three times between 2001 and 2004 and found that those with the highest exposure to sex on television were twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy than those with the least exposure. Adolescents receive a considerable amount of information about sex through television and that programming typically does not highlight the risks and responsibilities of sex,” said Anita Chandra, the lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND, the nonprofit research organization that funded the study. “Our findings suggest that television may play a significant role in the high rates of teenage pregnancy,” she said. Researchers said the study demonstrated that programs with sexual content create the perception there is little risk of sex without contraception. Teenage pregnancy in the Philippines is increasingly becoming a major cause of concern. There is a rising trend of young teen becoming mothers and majority of whom are unmarried. Young pregnant women are more vulnerable to death during pregnancy while child-birth and a huge number are not physically and fictionally prepared for motherhood. This is a feet reflection that there is inadequate and accurate information on adolescent pregnancy not enough priority is given to maternal and health care.

We are faced with a glaring truth that at a very young age, a lot of young people today have children of their own. According to the 2003 National Demographic and 3 http://www. GlobalPinoy. com Survey, one out of four women become mothers by age 19 while four out of 10 women in the 20-24-year-old bracket have already engaged in sexual activity. In this young population, the majority are still unmarried 83. 1 percent are living-in with their partners and 2. 6 lent are not in union. The rate of pregnancy increases from 25 percent to 50 percent by the time women reach the 0f 20-24.

More than the numbers, teenage pregnancy is a cause of concern because of the special role young women play society. Therefore the consequences increase and become more serious. Sadly, most kids do not know what to do when confronted with these problems. According to Dr. Jean Marc Olive, representative to the Philippines , “In the Philippines, there is a difficulty in talking about issues on sexuality because Filipinos are very conservative. Because of this, there is a lot of misinformation about sexuality. Therefore, I believe that talking about sexuality will make children more responsible. Dr. Corazon Raymundo, professor, UP Population Institute, emphasized the importance of educating the youth to help them more responsible in curbing the prevalence of teenage in the Philippines. “We should have more awareness programs on sexual education and on how to deal with the of adolescent period. The more educated the kids are, the more they can avoid pregnancy,” Dr. Raymundo said. Eastern Visayas has the second highest percentage of teenage pregnancies. About 8% of female teenagers in the Region have been pregnant. By age 17, seven percent haven been pregnant; by age 18, eleven point nine percent have been pregnant; and by age 19, twenty-three point five percent have been pregnant and majority of these pregnancies are out-of-wedlock. These are some of the alarming statistics which the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey results revealed. The survey was conducted in 2002 when the Sexual Maturity was age 15, the Sexual Maturity at present, the survey 4 http://www. piapressrelease. com (July 11, 2006) revealed is age 12. This means that young girls become mature earlier nowadays than it was four years ago.

One of the reasons for the increase in teenage pregnancies is the prevalence of live-in arrangements among young people. The survey revealed 78. 6% of never-married teenagers have lived-in while 5. 1% of teenagers aged 15-19 years old, are currently living in. Another reason given for the increase in teenage pregnancies is that the percentage of female teenagers who have had pre-marital sex increased from 4% in 1994 to 6. 1% in 2002. YAFSS claimed the third reason as the low contraceptive use among sexually active female teenagers. Only 17. 6% use contraceptives during the last time they had sex.

Another terrifying fact is that teenage mothers are more likely to experience pregnancy-related problems than older women. Worse, the teenage mother’s health also affects the health and survival of her baby. Teenage pregnancies have social consequences like reduced chances of attaining higher education for young females, jeopardized chances for better employment opportunities, cause early school drop-out among young women, extended financial dependence of young females on their families and possible inability to tackle responsibilities of motherhood due to lack of emotional and psychological maturity.

In order to address the problem of teenage pregnancies, the YAFS Survey recommended that there is a need to provide medically accurate sexuality education and information in schools and in media and to encourage policy makers to acknowledge the linkage between expectations for education and employment and sexual risk-taking and pregnancy decision-making of adolescents. There is a need for all the agencies and concerned sectors to look into this problem.

It’s not your typical comics since its stories are a bit “sensitive, tackling issues such as puberty, adolescent sexuality as well as teen pregnancy and why it should be discouraged. To make it more appealing to its intended readers, Grade 5 pupils to up to 4th year high school students, the Adolescent Health Issues and Perspectives (Ahip) comics adopted characters in anime-style drawings. “We poured our collective wisdom into making this comics more acceptable to our intended readers who are now at a stage of becoming more aware of their sexuality and the physical and emotional changes that go with it.

Indeed, the issues covered here are quite sensitive that even teenagers themselves find too personal to openly discuss with their parents, teachers, much more authorities,” said Dr. Rosendo Roque, project director of Ahip comics and past president of Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society. He added that the 50-page Ahip comics is part of the much larger Ahip program that has become POGS’ centerpiece since 2004 to save young women from unwanted pregnancy and cervical cancer.

She added that the Ahip comics will serve as a helpful medium in bringing POGS concerns to its teen readers. “Teen pregnancy is one of the issues that the Ahip comics deal with. Teenagers are in a particularly vulnerable stage when they are more likely to experiment with sex as fueled by their inquisitiveness, by their peer’s urging, or by the influence of what they see and hear in the media,” Gamilla said. Sadly, a report revealed that 94 percent of those who already had sex said they were unwilling and unprepared to become parents.

Roque added that information is the best weapon that POGS could provide at the moment in order to address the issue. “While the Ahip comics answers some of these issues I believe that adults also has a huge part in making themselves the role model the youth could respect, be proud of and emulate by example. As professionals, we could make them include in their values, responsible love and sex, responsible parenthood and reproductive health,” Roque suggested.

In celebration of A World Health Day 2005, The Zuellig Foundation together with Johnson & Johnson Philippines, Foundation of Adolescent Development and UP-National Institutes of Health, recently hosted a forum entitled “Kids with Kids” to support the advocacy on healthy young mothers and children. | In line with this year’s World Health Day slogan, “Make every mother and child count,” the forum was organized to| |address the need for and value of improving maternal and child health in the Philippines.

It was also created to inform and | |educate the Filipino children on the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the country and their role and responsibility in | |curbing it. | | | |Recognizing the important role of the young people as the primary players in dealing with this issue, the forum catered to | |kids as young as 10 to 20 years old from different public schools in Manila.

Various speakers were invited to talk about the | |social and economic aspects of teenage pregnancy as well as its risk factors and other health considerations. Among the guest | |speakers were Dr. Jean-Marc Olive, WHO representative to the Philippines; Dr. Corazon Raymundo, professor, UP Population | |Institute; Dr. Rebecca Singson, fellow, Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecologic Society of the Philippines; and Dr. Vicente | |Belizario Jr. , deputy director, UP National Institute of Health. | | |One-hundred-fifty adolescents, teachers and social workers attentively listened to the speakers as they shared information on | |issues like teenage pregnancy, childbirth and sexuality, which are not often discussed. The speakers informed kids about the | |risks of having a baby at a very early age and gave them insights on how adolescent pregnancy can affect the social, economic | |and emotional aspect of a teenager’s life. |The forum also discussed topics on early dating behavior, use of alcohol and drugs, dropping out of school and other problems | |that lead to teenage pregnancy. | |Students from Mariano Marcos Memorial High School were also invited to bring to life June @ Johnny, a stage play on teenage | |pregnancy to show kids what life is like when young teens become parents. Through the forum, kids became more aware of issues| |on sexuality and adolescent pregnancy. | | | | |

The sexual revolution has ushered in a period where the average adolescent faces tremendous pressures to have sexual experiences of all kinds. 5Today, Pinoy teens get a higher exposure to sex from the Internet, magazines, TV shows, movies, and other media than decades ago, yet without any corresponding increase in information on how to handle the input. So kids are pretty much left to other kids for opinions and value formation when it comes to sex. Sexual misinformation is, therefore, equally shared in the group. Parents at home and teachers in school feel equally inadequate or uneasy to discuss the topic of sex with youngsters.

The problem mounts because the barkada has a more profound influence than parents do, exerts pressure and expects the adolescent to conform to the rest of the them. Many of the youth are clueless that even on a single intercourse, they can wind up pregnant. Teenage mothers tend to have poor eating habits and are less likely to take the recommended daily multivitamins to maintain adequate nutrition during pregnancy. They are also more likely to smoke, drink, or take drugs during pregnancy, which can cause health problems for the baby.

Teenage mothers are less likely to seek regular prenatal care which is essential for monitoring the growth of the fetus, keeping the mother’s weight in check, and advising the mother on nutrition and how she should take care of herself to ensure a healthy pregnancy. According to the American Medical Association, babies born to women who do not have regular prenatal care are four times more likely to die before the age of one year and seven months. Unplanned pregnancies lead to a higher rate of abortions. In the US, nearly four in 10 teen pregnancies (excluding those ending in miscarriages) are terminated by abortion.

There were about 274,000 abortions among teens in 1996. 5 Rebecca B. Singson, “The Lowdown on Teen Pregnancies,” Philippine Star ( July 1, 2008) In the Philippines, although abortion is illegal, it would shock you to know that we even have a higher abortion rate (25/1,000 women) compared to the US, where abortion is legal (23/1,000 women). For sure, there a lot more abortions that happen in our country that are not even reported. Backdoor abortions are resorted to with untrained hilots with questionable sterility procedures, increasing the possibility of tetanus poisoning and other complications.

Statistics of the Department of Health (DOH) show that fetal deaths are more likely to happen to young mothers, and that babies born to them are likely to have low birth weight. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually-transmitted, wart-forming virus that has been implicated in causing cancer of the cervix. This is the most common cancer in women, next only to breast cancer. Women who are at increased risk for acquiring this are those who engage in sex before 18, have a pregnancy at or younger than 18, or have had at least five sexual partners, or have had a partner with at least five sexual partners.

If you start sex at an early age, you have a higher likelihood of going through several sexual partners before you settle down, thus increasing your exposure to acquiring the virus and acquiring cervical cancer. The men can get genital warts from this virus and can certainly pass it on to their partners, thus increasing her risk for cervical cancer. Using the condom does not confer protection against acquiring this virus since the condom cannot cover the testes where the warts can grow and proliferate. Children of teen moms also face negative health, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes.

This may result from lack of maturity and emotional quotient or simply from ignorance due to a lack of life’s experiences. Children born to teenage mothers are less likely to receive proper nutrition, health care, and cognitive and social stimulation. As a result, they may have an underdeveloped intellect and attain lower academic achievement. Things can be done to avoid the teenagers from being pregnant, first, keep them at home with an intact family setup. The social institutions surrounding the youth jointly form a web of influence that either shields or lays them open to the lure of sexual risk-taking.

The family is one such social institution. An intact family with both parents raising the child was found to be correlated to less risk-taking behavior by teens. Those who left home early or were raised by separated parents were noted to engage in sex early and other risk-taking behaviors. Family supervision and a stable parental union are definitely associated with lesser chances of engaging in premarital sex. Second, keep them in school. The other social institution that shields the youth from engaging in risk-taking behavior is the school.

Leaving  school at an early age makes the young more vulnerable to having their first sexual experience outside marriage. Third, keep talking to them. Increased parental communication consistently predicted a decrease in the likelihood of young Filipinos engaging in sexual risk-taking activities. It has been found that the mother, in particular, has a special role because monitoring by the mother as well as communication lines with her daughter were found to be associated with less frequent intercourse and fewer sexual partners. Fourth keep them morally and spiritually grounded.

Over 80 percent of the 502 teens in the September poll told researchers that religion is important in their lives. Regardless of gender or race, survey results revealed that teens who attend religious services frequently are less likely to have permissive attitudes about sex. Orienting them with the proper values early helps them imbibe these in their lives and keeps them from succumbing to peer pressure. Preventing teen pregnancies requires a concerted effort on the part of parents, the school, and government to insure that right information is ransmitted to the children even during their pre-teen years and that they are well-monitored and supported emotionally and psychologically. We can’t watch what our kids do all the time, but then again, we won’t have to if they are equipped to make better decisions for themselves. As I do this research, teenage pregnancy is one of the major problem of our country. So as a student and as a teenager, one thing that I can suggest is to let the teenagers like me to have a family intact. The more they are closer with their family, the more they can avoid this situation.

Teenagers also need parental guidance and parental supervision in order for them to be always monitored and keep in their minds that they should not be engaged in any sexual intercourse at an early age. I also suggest to have a program which will help the teenagers to be out of curiosity and not just do it out of curiosity. ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY SARIAYA, QUEZON IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE SUBJECT TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN THE PHILIPPINES PRESENTED BY: MA. FRANCES ANNE S. VELASQUEZ PRESENTED TO: MRS. MARIEBELLE GRACIELLI A. PUREZA FEBRUARY 9, 2009 Teenage Pregnancy in The Philippines Thesis Statement:

Teenagers nowadays are brought about by their own curiosity and trying to be independent and live the lifestyle they want which leads to the unplanned teenage pregnancy. I. Introduction II. Teenage Pregnancy III. Blame A. Media and Internet B. Sex on T. V. C. Rising Trend 1. Kids with Kids IV. Alarming News A. Tacloban V. Aid A. Ahip and POGS B. WHO C. Lowdown 1. Risk for Malnutrition 2. Risk for Inadequate Prenatal Care 3. Risk for Abortion 4. Risk for Fetal Deaths 5. Risk for Acquiring Cervical Cancer 6. Risk for Baby 7. Deterrents to Teen Pregnancy VI. Recommendation and Suggestion BIBLIOGRAPHY

Buban, Charles E. , “Tackling Teenage Pregnancy with Anime-Inspired Comics. ” Philippine Star. August 8, 2008 Cruz, Josephine, et. Al. , Sex and the Single Adolescent. Experiencing Powerful English: SIBS Publishing House, INC. , 2002, pp. 119-120 Singson, Rebecca E. , “The Lowdown on Teen Pregnancies. ” Philippine Star. July 1,2008 http://www. GlobalPinoy. com http://www. cbcpnews. com, September 26, 2008 http://www. piapressrelease. com, July 11, 2006 http://www. philippinestoday. net/index. php? module=article&view=1294 http://philstar. com/index. php? Health%20And%20Family&p=49&type=2&sec=41&aid=2008063072

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