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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unwanted pregnancies: It's the system we created

IN THE first gruesome discovery on Sunday morning, a baby with its umbilical cord still attached, was found lodged in the toilet bowl of a budget hotel in Bukit Bintang. The mother was arrested immediately.

In the second tragedy the following day, a girl died in a hotel chalet in Kota Bahru, after allegedly bleeding to death following an abortion. She was only 17 years-old.

In two days, two young women attempted to get rid of their babies. One, flushed it down the toilet and then ran away. The other woman, we are told, had an abortion but paid for this with her life. These deaths are unnecessary and the truth behind what happened may never be established.

So why do we allow these unwanted pregnancies to go unchecked? And when we will realise that our children need sex education? How many more deaths, of babies and young mothers, have we to register, before the authorities will finally teach children about their own bodies?

unwanted-pregnancyThe concensus among our youth is that sex education should be made compulsory in schools. If governments and adults are serious about protecting the wellbeing, health and future of our children and young adults, then it is time trained teachers taught sex, without being embarrassed or judgmental.

We freely talk about giving our children a healthy diet, fewer fast foods or unsuitable foods which might cause heart problems, diabetes or other health related diseases.

So why can't the same type of talk be structured along similar lines, but related to sexual health? We are denying our children their rights on several fronts.

Some naïve young girls are tricked by their boyfriends into believing that the actual sex act is an expression of love. Sexually active couples contract sexually transmitted diseases (STD) because they wrongly thought the pill would protect them from STDs. And sadly, only married Muslim couples are encouraged to use contraception; Sexually active singles supposedly don't exist.

Young children must be told about their bodies, building trusting relationships, STDs and the consequences of having unprotected sex. Of course, abstinence should be encouraged, even though this advice may be ignored. Contrary to popular belief, sex education in schools will not increase promiscuity, encourage free sex or lead to a decline in morals.

It would be revealing if we had access to the statistics for abortion and tried to correlate sex education with a drop (or otherwise) in the number of abortions or unwanted pregnancies, STDs and HIV/AIDs cases.

But right now we cannot even relate the failure of such a program as none of our schools have sex education.

Until such time that our schools have sex education, we must be prepared for more depressing tales of women and babies who die through botched abortions. Or mothers who are scared, who panic or who are simply having postnatal blues and harm or kill their babies. We need to act fast because these tragedies happen because of the system we created.

courtesy of Malaysian Mirror

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