Although girls can legally have sex from the age of 12, they need their parents' permission to get contraception or an HIV test if they are under That's better than being ignorant. She says her boyfriend's parents told her contraception had bad side effects. By the time she was 16, she had given birth to another baby. So I got scared … That's why I kept getting pregnant. There is supposed to be a separation between the state and the church in the Philippines, but most of our lawmakers are deeply religious people. But he said he would take responsibility and that he loved me," she says. Young, poor and pregnant:
Dennis Socrates, Palawan's vice governor and former mayor of Puerto Princesa Socrates, a member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei, is vehemently opposed to all forms of artificial contraception and even some natural ones. By the time she was 16, she had given birth to another baby. Health workers say this leads to many girls having unprotected sex and leaves them vulnerable to pregnancy. Young, poor and pregnant: So I got scared … That's why I kept getting pregnant. We declared Puerto Princesa city a pro-life, pro-family city, which is really a harmless thing and I simply refused to allocate funds, specifically to buy contraceptives. Now living with her boyfriend and children in a ramshackle hut surrounded by mud, Angela often struggles to scrounge together enough food to feed her family. According to reports, about Filipino teenagers become mothers every day. She's one of hundreds of thousands of girls in the Philippines who gave birth when they were just teenagers. Although girls can legally have sex from the age of 12, they need their parents' permission to get contraception or an HIV test if they are under Amina Evangelista-Swanepoel, Roots of Health More than 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholic, and the Church is one of the country's most powerful institutions, wielding enormous influence over government policy, particularly family planning issues. They said it [contraception] damaged the uterus. High rate of teen pregnancies 'a tremendous problem' Amina Evangelista-Swanepoel, one of the founders of Roots of Health, a Palawan women's health NGO, says the high rate of teen pregnancy has wide-ranging consequences. But five years later, that law is yet to be implemented due to fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and other anti-abortion rights groups, who challenged it before the Supreme Court. That's about , teenage mothers every year. Her youngest child is just a week old. That's better than being ignorant. Her boyfriend was 19, and it was her first sexual experience. Teen mums in the Philippines While teen pregnancy rates in most countries are declining, numbers are rising in the Philippines. The age of consent in this deeply conservative Catholic country is just 12, one of the lowest in the world, but access to contraception is limited, and abortion is illegal. Just a few weeks after the birth, she was pregnant again. There is supposed to be a separation between the state and the church in the Philippines, but most of our lawmakers are deeply religious people. I don't want more kids," Angela says. Angela's home province of Palawan has one of the country's highest rates of teen pregnancies. But he said he would take responsibility and that he loved me," she says.
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