UN Warns Teen Pregnancy Still a Big Global Problem

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Although teen pregnancies in the developing world are declining, more than 7 million girls under 18 still give birth each year, according to a report by the U.N. Population Fund.

Girls under the age of 14 account for 2 million of those births. They face the greatest long-term health risks for getting pregnant so young.

"A girl who is pregnant at 14 is a girl whose rights have been violated and whose future is derailed," Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said.

The report looked at births to women under 18 worldwide, the underlying causes of teen pregnancy, and possible solutions to the problem, which the U.N. said is part of a vicious cycle of rights violations.
"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," Osotimehin wrote in the report. "It is a consequence of little or no access to school, employment, quality information and health care."
The report said that high rates of adolescent pregnancies correspond with other social problems.

"Early pregnancies reflect powerlessness, poverty and pressures -- from partners, peers, families, and communities," the report read. "And in too many instances, they are the result of sexual violence or coercion."

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