KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — The Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA) has called on the relevant authorities to provide a comprehensive life and reproductive education and information programme to adolescents to prevent unintended teen pregnancies.
Research has shown that such a program could reduce high-risk sexual behavior, and increase the age at which a person can become sexually active.
It stated that punitive measures would be used instead of education to discourage teenage mothers from seeking help. This would lead to them abandoning their children.
It was said that pregnancies outside of marriage, especially teenage pregnancies are often a result of multiple factors including the belief that they can’t get pregnant the first time they have had sex.
“Our youth resort to these resources of sex information due to the paucity of a comprehensive life and reproductive education programme to educate these sexually active boys and girls,” it said.
The statement was issued in response to the Terengganu State Assembly’s move in passing the Syariah Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Amendment) Enactment 2022 yesterday which included the criminalisation of out-of-wedlock pregnancies.
The association states that criminalizing unmarried women who are pregnant is not a good idea because it fails to consider the wider social impact on the lives of these women and their unborn children.
It called on all relevant authorities to organize awareness campaigns about the negative effects of teenage pregnancy on health, academic pursuits, and social well-being.
“The authorities should also provide compassion and support to unintended pregnancies and girls’ partners, regardless of race, religion or age.
“The most important thing to do is prevent teens from dropping out. According to the report, keeping teens in school until secondary education has been proven effective in reducing high-risk behavior such as teenage pregnancy. — Bernama