Too many teens getting pregnant – BFPA
The Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) said it remained concerned about the number of teenage girls who get pregnant here.
Executive Director Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland did not provide numbers but said teenage pregnancy continued to be a problem and this was for this reason the BFPA was cautioning against encouraging just about anyone to have more babies.
“The people who are getting pregnant are the young women who often cannot afford the pregnancies. The issue of teenage pregnancy is when you compare Barbados’ socio-economic development to that of other countries, we clearly have too many teenagers with unplanned pregnancies,” Bynoe-Sutherland told Barbados TODAY.
Government senator, religious leader and Chairman of the National Assistance Board David Durant was quoted over the weekend as saying Barbados might have to consider paying married couples to have more children.
Fearing a population crisis within a decade when the elderly is predicted to outnumber children, Durant is reported to have said the imbalance could affect every aspect of social life.
However, the BFPA executive warned this could prove problematic at a time when the emphasis ought to be on reducing the number of teen pregnancies by providing access to information, education and services.
“It is my understanding that the Government is looking carefully at how it can rationalize the disconnect between the age of consent and the age at which they can access services so that we can get information and services through to 16 and 17-year-olds.
“A 16 or 17-year-old can consent to having sex but cannot have access to services without parental consent. How many 16 or 17-year-olds would want to have that conversation with their parents?” she questioned.
Bynoe-Sutherland threw her support behind organizations that discourage young people from becoming sexually active, but advised that it was not prudent to condemn those who were and who became pregnant or contracted sexually transmitted infections because “we are not willing to provide them with information or access to services”.