THAILAND: Teen Pregnancies Are On The Rise

More young girls are getting pregnant in Thailand at a much earlier age than before.  Thailand reportedly has the second highest pregnancy rate among 15- to 19-year-olds in the world, after South Africa.

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Public Health Ministry statistics show that Thai adolescents younger than 20 years old are responsible for an average of 370 births in Thailand EVERY DAY.   Teens under 15 years old make up on average 10 births EVERY DAY, and this figure is still increasing.

The age Thais lose their virginity, according the ministry’s statistics, is gradually getting lower. In 2006, the average age of first sex was 15.5 for boys and 15.9 for girls, but that number has been going down every year.

The ministry has also implemented a pilot project, with participation from 134 hospitals nationwide, to monitor the abortion situation in Thailand.  It found that in 2011, 53% of patients seeking an abortion were teenagers and 30% of them were university students.

As a consequence the health ministry have had to re-evaluate their strategy in lowering the volume of unwanted pregnancies. Public Health Minister Pradit Sintawanarong said there will be a study on the possible amendment of regulations to remove barriers to access contraception and those related to solving unplanned early pregnancy, such as the ban on the morning after pill.  However, there must be discussions with the Medical Council of Thailand to set clear a direction on usage and control to prevent misuse.

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