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UN Reports: 7.3 Million Teenagers Give Birth in Developing Nations

Update Date: Oct 30, 2013 03:57 PM EDT
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Even though recent statistics found that the number of teenage pregnancies has reduced in developing nations, a new United Nations report found that teenage pregnancies are still too high. The report found that 7.3 million girls under 18-years-old give birth every year and suffer the consequences that follow.

"A girl who is pregnant at 14 is a girl whose rights have been violated and whose future is derailed," the UN Population Fund's executive director, Dr. Babtunde Osotimehin said according to the Associated Press reported by ABC News. "Adolescent pregnancy is most often not the result of a deliberate choice, but rather the absence of choices."

For this report, the fund focused on the underlying causes of teenage pregnancy with the hopes of finding ways to prevent it. The researchers examined the 7.3 million births that occur in developing countries every year. The report found that around two million of these births are from girls aged 14 or younger. Based on these statistics every single day, 20,000 young girls give birth. 90 percent of these births are due to a union or marriage between an underage girl and a man.

The report found ties between higher rates of teenage pregnancies and the country's social problems. These problems include poverty and power. The researchers calculated that in the Middle East, 10 percent of women between the ages of 20 to 24 had their first child when they were younger than 18. This percentage of women in South Asia, and Western and Central Africa was 22 and 28 respectively.

The data came from 54 countries where two sets of surveys were administered. The first set took place between 1990 and 2008 and the second set took place between 1997 and 2011. The information revealed that for women between the ages of 20 and 24, the percentage of them giving birth before turning 18 fell from 23 percent to 20 percent. Despite the decline, the authors of the report stressed the importance of reducing this number even more.

Osotimehin stressed, "The birth or pregnancy in one adolescent is unacceptable. One. Whether it's going up or down is not the issue - 7.3 million is huge."

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