News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 1, 2013: More girls under the age of 15 and 18 are becoming moms in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new report from The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The report, titled ‘Motherhood in Childhood’ and released Thursday, says the regions are the only place globally where births to girls under age 15 rose.
Some 18 percent are reporting a first birth before the age of 18 while among that total, 2 percent reported giving birth before the age of 15.
The global average for women giving birth before 18 years of age in developing countries is 19 percent.
The highest regional teen birth rates before the age of 18 were reported in Nicaragua (28 percent), Honduras (26 percent), and The Dominican Republic (25 percent).
In the Caribbean, the countries with the highest rate of teen pregnancy are Belize, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
And there is more bad news. UNFPA is now also projecting such births to rise slightly through 2030.
UNFPA is urging regional governments to help girls achieve their full potential through education and adequate health services.
Still the region is not as appalling as sub-Saharan where the total number of unsafe abortions is more than double that of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 44 per cent of all unsafe abortions among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 in the developing world (excluding East Asia), while Latin America and the Caribbean account for 23 per cent.
Globally, out of the 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls who are 14 or younger.
Too often, society blames only the girl for getting pregnant,” said UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin. “The reality is that adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices, and of circumstances beyond a girl’s control. It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care.”