It is a story that may not be too pleasant, but one that is repeated all too often: teenage pregnancy.
Some 16.5 million Filipinos belong to the 15-24 year old age group. We are forced with a glaring truth that at a very young age, a lot of young people today have children of their own. 30 % of all births belong to this age group; and by the age of 20, 25% of the youth are already mothers.
Statistics show that every year at least 64,000 teenagers have abortions, and those are statistics from a country where abortion is illegal, yet we claim we are Catholics, who are preserving and valuing life. Abortions. Do these teens know they are killing a human? They might or they might not, or they might just pretend they do not know. But how did abortion come into the picture? How did abortion even become an option? Fear. Fear of being unaccepted, fear of the unknown, and lots and lots of fear. Will no one stand up and lend an ear to just listen to what these teens are experiencing? Just how many more girls are getting rid of their babies? How many girls die by trying to kill their unborn child? How many babies will have to lose their life because no one listens?
We might say that the pregnancy of these teenagers is just the mere result of the gratification of sexual urges. Yes we might say that. That pregnancy would not occur if studies had been prioritized instead of the relationship of the opposite sex. That if there were no premarital sex (PMS), there would be no pregnancy. On one simple glance, we would judge these teenagers guilty. Period. But have we even asked ourselves if we have the right to judge? Were we there when these teens were growing up? Were we even present when these teens cried out for love when they were still kids? Were we there to witness how their concept of love metamorphoses into sex and there was no one to correct this wrong concept? My point is, were not there and we do not know. What right do we have to judge?
As a whole, the situation is grim for pregnant teenage girls ands their babies. Forced with few options with nowhere to turn to, many girls find various ways to get rid of the fetus. In a few cases, some simply disguise their bellies and hide their pregnancy from everyone, and deal with the baby only at the time of birth.
These things often happen because of the seeming lack option for pregnant teenagers; because of the supposed shame that the pregnancy brings, many would rather deal with it on their own rather than involving their family and friends. One can just imagine the impact pregnancy would bring to a pregnant teen. Even married couples experiences fears when pregnancy arises, how much more for the young teenagers. Questions and a lot more questions would pop out from the minds’ of these young girls. ‘What is now to happen to my studies? Who would I tell this to? How should I tell this to my parents? What is to happen now?’ With all these questions coming out, who will then try to enlighten? Friends, who might say keep the baby; or friends, who suggest to get rid of the baby? When the parents, the supposedly right persons to tell to, do not even know? My question is, who can help these people to make the right choice?
Pregnancy is a gift. The baby is a miracle, a great gift and treasure from God. Pregnancy is not a sin neither a crime. It is merely a result of a consummated relationship; pregnancy may not be planned by man but has long been laid out in the perfect plan of our Creator.
Pregnancy during the teenage years is a bombastic situation, one that comes unexpected. For a student facing unintended pregnancy, the physical, emotional and spiritual issues can seem overwhelming. Teenage pregnancy may have been the result of the lack of supervision from parents, though blaming is nonetheless helpful if pregnancy presents itself. What I would like to emphasize is that the pregnant teenagers need help. They need understanding and acceptance the more. Who would lend a helping hand? Would you lend a hand and save not only one but two lives?
To the readers, I would like to pose a challenge. What can you do to the commitment and choice of life? Can you make every extra effort to provide pregnant students with caring, non-judgmental, professional assistance and support?
It may sound so idealistic or what, and it’s up to all of you to decide for yourself, but I really do believe that in our own little ways we have to do something to make the world a better place, and not a bitter place to live in. God love us so much, and it’s up to us to spread that love to the people who needs it more.. and most.
May the Holy Triune God live in our hearts, And in the hearts of all people. Amen.