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LOCAL > Over nine percent of girls marry underage in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency

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Over nine percent of all women between the ages of 15-19  in Turkey get married between, with 5.9 percent giving birth to their first child within the same age gap, according to numbers released by Hacettepe University. 

Girls between the ages of 15 and 19 have a 9.6 percent rate of marriage, the numbers showed, with around 70 percent of the married women experiencing their first pregnancy in the same age gap.

Around 12 percent of the pregnancy stories however end in voluntary miscarriages, the survey added.
 
Hacettepe professor Hilal Özcebe said the underage marriages in Turkey pose a serious health public health risk, adding that around 16 million women around the world under the age of 18 get pregnant every year, with over three million of those pregnancies ending with unsafe miscarriages. 

The early marriages and pregnancies are also frequent cases in develop countries, Özcebe added, saying that most of the underage mothers-to-be get pregnant against their will due to decimation, violation of rights, lack of education and sexual pressure. 

Early pregnancies also pose health risks to the mother, including hyper blood pressure, bleeding and unexpected miscarriages, according to Özcebe, while also harming the physical and emotional development of the teenage mother.

Such dangers can only be thwarted by preventing underage pregnancies, and increasing activities to raise awareness in areas where teenage pregnancy rates are high, Özcebe said, adding that young girls should be allowed to stay in school. 

Underage marriages should be postponed, and pregnancies should be left until over the age of 20 for the mother, Özcebe added.

July/10/2013

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