22,000 teenage pregnancies recorded in 18 months: Report
Rifat Başaran – ANKARA
The total number of conceptions recorded in women aged under 18 years was 21,957 during the period covering last year and the first six months of this year.
The figure was revealed by the Health Ministry upon the demand of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ali Şeker to disclose the relevant data.
The ministry has also disclosed the numbers based on provinces. Istanbul and the southeastern province of Gaziantep topped the list at 1,106 underage conceptions recorded in 2017. On the other hand, in the first half of 2018, there were 625 underage conceptions in Istanbul, whereas this figure was 499 in Gaziantep.
During the 18-month period, Istanbul and Gaziantep were followed by the southern province of Adana, the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and the southern province of Hatay, at 1,348, 1,005, and 1,313 underage conceptions respectively.
In only four provinces, the number of underage conceptions during this period fell below 10. The eastern province of Tunceli had the least recorded at four. It was followed by the northeastern provinces of Bayburt, Artvin and Gümüşhane.
The ministry’s figures were released prior to United Nations Universal Children’s Day. Established in 1954, Universal Children’s Day is marked on Nov. 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children and to improve the welfare of children worldwide.
“In Turkey, 26 percent of females were married before the age of 18. Ten percent of them gave birth before the age of 18. Some 142,298 underage mothers were recorded in the last six years. Most of these children were married with religious ceremonies. A total of 440,000 underage girls have given birth since 2002. The number of women under 15 who gave birth after being exposed to sexual abuse was recorded as 15,937,” Bingöl said in his report.