MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the Philippines is backing the bid for a law that aims to curb teen pregnancy in the country.
This is by enabling teens to access sexual and reproductive health services without being discriminated against.
UNFPA is the United Nations agency for sexual and reproductive health.
On Thursday, it praised the move forward of the adolescent pregnancy prevention bill in the House of Representatives — “in light of the fact that teen pregnancy had already been declared a national social emergency.”
The proposed measure already secured the approval of the parliamentary committee for youth and sports development on Tuesday.
“UNFPA supports the pursuit of legislation that would expand adolescents’ choices to sexual and reproductive health services without discrimination,” said Dr. Leila Saiji Joudane, the country representative of the UNFPA agency said in a statement.
She pointed out that teenage pregnancies continue to be one of the biggest challenges faced by Filipino youth.
“UNFPA looks forward to the passage of the adolescent pregnancy bill by both chambers of Congress and the law,” Joudane said.
She noted that UNFPA is also closely monitoring the developments of the bill’s counterpart in the Senate, which is awaiting second reading in the plenary.
Among the recommendations made by the agency during Congressional deliberations on the proposed measure is the enhanced provision of comprehensive child and adolescent sex education (CSE).
According to UNFPA, CSE “enables young people to protect and advocate for their health, well-being and dignity by providing them with a necessary toolkit of knowledge, attitudes and skills.”
UNFPA also pushes for adolescents to access sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent.
Joudane said there is no evidence to show that access to contraception boosts adolescent sexual activity.
She cited data that considered ineffective “an abstinence-only approach” to adolescent pregnancy.
“Programmes that combine attention to delaying sexual initiation with good education about contraceptive use are more successful.
That is why it is important to accelerate the rollout of CSE at the national level – to give adolescents the right information so that they can make informed and responsible decisions about their health,” said Joudane.
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