2,404 babies born to underage girls die in 11 years in Turkey

2,404 babies born to underage girls die in 11 years in Turkey

Some 2,404 babies that have been born to girls under the age of 17 have died over the past 11 years in Turkey, the Health Ministry has said.

The number only points to infants that died less than one day after being born, the ministry said in a response to a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi.  

A total of 17 mothers under the age of 17 died during labor between 2007 and 2016, according to statistics by the ministry’s Infant Death Watch System. 

The victims were all over the country, the statistics showed. 

Two underage mothers in Diyarbakır and two others in Muş in the east died during labor in the given period.
Akkuş İlgezdi said the marriage of girls under 18 has a destructive effect on them and all of society. 

“Making girls marry before they reach physical and psychological maturity, forcing or promoting them to give birth risks both the mothers’ physical and psychological health and the babies’ life,” she said. 

“Under-aged marriages also make the gender inequalities deepen,” she said. 

The deputy said 142,298 out of nearly 7.8 million babies that were born between 2010 and 2015 were born to mothers under the age of 17. 

Turkish Gynecology and Obstetrics Association (TJOD) Vice President Prof. Ali Baloğlu said in November 2016 that one third of the births in Turkey were to mothers under 18. Some 25 percent of the remaining births were to mothers aged between 18 and 25, he said. 

Some 35 percent of overall births were to mothers who became pregnant before the age of 18, he added. 
People under 18 are considered to be children under Turkish law. 

Lakshmi Sundaram, executive director of Girls Not Brides in London, said at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference on March 23 that 15 million girls – about one in four girls around the world – are married under the age of 18.

According to care.org statistics, 39,000 girls around the world become child brides every 24 hours.

The official Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) figures show that 31,337 girls at the ages of 16 and 17 got married in 2015. This makes up some 5.2 percent of overall marriages that year. The figure exceeds 15 percent in several provinces.