ADOLESCENTS and young people face the challenge of Early and Unintended Pregnancy (EUP) in large numbers during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic as most of them never use any method of contraceptives.
June 8, 2022
3 min read
Unintended pregnancy numbers remain high
Advocate of women issues, Lintle Ramatla
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“The use of condoms is not what they are familiar with as some date partners that do not want to use them,” says findings of a research by an advocate of women issues, Lintle Ramatla.
“Both male and female partners sometimes find it challenging to find pleasure while using condoms, which young people rarely use.”
Ramatla said some of those that had experienced unwanted pregnancies during this time of the pandemic were victims of forced sex or rape.
While some have been dating married men unknowingly, others have been rejected by partners that earn little or no income at all.
“I’m bothered by the number of those that said they had been abandoned by married men they dated without knowing their marital statuses,” Ramatla said.
“The men clearly said they did not want to take the responsibility. They wouldn’t give them support or options on whether or not those girls wanted to keep the babies.”
Ramatla said there were still some young people who were not ready to start using contraceptives, and condoms due to misconceptions and myths.
“Some are not even ready to use them even after abortion or after giving birth,” she said.
“They use a phrase such as they would never get into any relationship anymore, or that they were done with the relationship. It might sound good but in reality abstinence isn’t guaranteed. Without any form of any contraception, chances of falling pregnant again can’t be eliminated.”
Ramatla said many of the pregnancies had no records because they ended up in illegal abortions.
“Most young people don’t want to share such information in order to cover their tracks and avoid arrests,” she noted. “It’s shocking how the numbers of unwanted pregnancies are growing daily.”
She said she got to know about them because many asked her to recommend ideal places for safe abortion or safe abortion pills.
“When I asked about who else knew about their pregnancies, they told me only their partners knew about their conditions,” she added.
Ramatla has recommended the use of condoms and contraceptives by every young person, who is sexually active.
She said men and boys should be engaged in finding ways to prevent early and unintended pregnancies.
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“It will help to reduce unwanted pregnancies because they are the ones fuelling the situation,” Ramatla said. “I plead with married men to protect girls from unwanted pregnancies.”
She said unstable families and relationships contributed a lot to the increasing number of unwanted pregnancies.
“Some married men take advantage of stressed young girls by offering them money. They engage in unprotected sex with such young girls, eventually impregnating or neglecting or forcing them to take abortion pills.”
She further urged the youth to stay away from alcohol and drugs, or dating older people in order to prevent early and unintended pregnancy.
“Parents should also not force girls to become breadwinners,” she said. “Strengthening early and unintended pregnancy messaging is very important to both boys and girls.”