Who is the criminal here?
Going through the nation yesterday (May 6th 2014), I came across another teenage abortion story – with a title (Crime: teenager’s boyfriend arrested). Have a read.
Isn’t that sad!
Did you see the ‘advice’ tucked in the article. Let’s just look at that.
‘Parents should learn to sit down and talk to their teenage children in this advanced technological era……..’ Now this gentleman blames the internet for this botched abortion.
I thought that young couple were quite wise to go to a pharmacist – at least they went to a health care provider. And although the health care provider failed to give them good advice, the poor young couple are now likely to face a prison sentence for ‘unlawfully terminating a pregnancy’. Can you really blame 17-year olds for wanting to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy? Isn’t the failure in the health worker who did not give them some good advice. Is treating this couple as criminals, who will now have to drop out of school and probably have no future, the right thing to do?
Teenage pregnancy is a huge problem in Kenya, there is no doubt about it. Blaming the internet is ridiculous – teenage pregnancies where a problem long before the internet ever came round – ask anyone on the other side of 40 (i.e my friends and I). I remember when as a little girl in primary school being rather terrified of going to high school because most of my cousins ended up pregnant before they had completed their education – I thought pregnancy in secondary school was a rite of passage. I remember laughing with a room-mate in high school who, in her primary school years, prayed that God would not bless her- because many girls in her village were ‘blessed’ with children at a very young age.
It is not right to victimise children for the failure by communities to accept that it is highly likely that 17 year olds can be sexually active and should know about contraceptives.
It is estimated that 13 million children are born yearly to women under 20 years old globally.
In a paper published by Baird and Porter in 2011 in the journal Obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive medicine listed what leads young people to early sexual experiences
1- Young people overestimate how many of their peers are sexually active
2- Young people have sex in the hope that it will deliver other things such as a loving relationship
3- Low self-esteem
4- Cultural pressure and assumption of the normality of sexual experience (for example ‘celebrity’ and teenage magazines)
5- Inability to communicate with parents and carers
In the developed world, the USA has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and a lot of studies have been conducted to try and see what works. They have had some success and researchers say that a quarter of the reduction has been attributed to the push of abstinence message but the largest contributor, is the availability of contraception. Accessible youth clinics staffed with sympathetic, well-trained and approachable staff has attributed to three-quarters of the observed reduction in teenage pregnancy.
The abstinence message must go on, no doubt, our mothers harped about it and I shall, to my daughter. I believe sex has too many emotional implications to be tried out by teenagers, if you can’t vote – you should not be having sex. BUT, I hope to remember to be practical, and let her know that there are ways to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and STD’s. We cannot run away from this.