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Choice and Change

Video: Religion, the Law and Teen Pregnancy in the Philippines

Continuing our “Choice and Change” series, we go to the Philippines and meet 15-year-old May Sanchez, who is expecting her second child. Despite laws aimed at increasing access to birth control, girls like Sanchez often learn about contraception when it’s too late.

Written by Sunshine Lichauco de Leon and Jan Cabanos Published on Read time Approx. 1 minutes

In the Philippines, teen pregnancy rates remain the highest in all of Asia, with one in every 10 girls between 15 and 19 years old either pregnant or already a mother to at least one child. May Sanchez, 15, gave birth to her first child at 13, miscarried during her second pregnancy, and is now nine months’ pregnant. Though the Philippines passed a historic Reproductive Health Law in 2012 that guarantees all women in the country access to sex education, contraception and maternal care, the family planning budget was later slashed, and sex education still isn’t widely taught in schools. In a country where the Catholic Church influences social attitudes towards family planning, girls like Sanchez are often left without information on how to use birth control or where to get it.

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