Teenage Pregnancy in Manila, Philippines
Teenage pregnancy is widespread in the Philippines, especially amongst the poor. In Manila, this contributes to overpopulation and the vicious cycle of poverty, another child borne into the slums and a teenage mom bearing the burden of raising a child before her own maturity and adulthood.
The Philippines, now home to around 85 million people, has become one of the fastest growing populations in Asia with about 2 million new births each year, many of them in public hospitals so overwhelmed that new mothers are forced to share beds. Meanwhile, the Philippines' population is projected to expand to as many as 142 million by 2040, by the government's own estimates, and the rapid arrival of new mouths to feed is straining the country's creaking infrastructure and choking its efforts to cut poverty. Young mothers face enormous health risks, obstructed labour is common and results in newborn deaths and deaths or disabilities in the mothers.
Teenage pregnancy is less about young women and their sex lives than it is about restricted horizons and the boundaries of hope. It would be a tragedy to stop worrying about these young women- and their partners- because their behavior is the measure rather than the cause of their blighted hopes.