English | Dzongkha Friday, June 18, 2021

Raising the legal age for marriage to prevent teenage pregnancy; Foreign Minister


Jun 11, 2021

Against the increasing number of teenage pregnancies in the country, Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji, who is also the chairperson of the National Commission of Women and Children, said one of the interventions is to raise the legal age for marriage. The Foreign Minister shared this during the question hour session at the National Council, today.

The minister said, currently, pregnancies at the age of 18 and 19 are considered lawful as it lies within the legal age of marriage which is 18 years in the country.

From the 330 teenage pregnancy cases recorded last year, 167 cases were between 18-19 years while 163 cases were below the age of 18 years. According to the World Health Organisation, teenage pregnancy is when a girl under 19 becomes pregnant.

“From the health perspective, giving birth at this age can have a lot of complications and risks for both the mother and the child. So from many of the solutions and interventions, one possibility I see is raising the marriage age. If this is done, then teenage pregnancies below the age of 19 can be dealt with strictly as per the law. For instance, in countries like China and Singapore, the marriage age for both male and female is either 20 or 21 years,” said Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji.

Lyonpo also said from the total of 330 teenage pregnancies recorded last year, only 24 reported to the Police. And as per RENEW, underreported teenage pregnancies is a big concern. They said, people are hesitant to report such cases as it is pre-age and out of marriage pregnancies and also because of stigmatisation.

Sonam Pem & Kinzang Lhadon

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