Dominican Republic: Policies Fuel Teen Pregnancy
Girls Need Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Health Services, Safe Abortion
Thursday 13 June 2019
(New York, June 18, 2019) – Adolescent girls in the Dominican Republic are being denied their sexual and reproductive rights, including access to safe abortion, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The authorities should carry out a new plan for comprehensive sexuality education and decriminalize abortion to curb unwanted teen pregnancy and reduce unsafe abortion.
The report, “‘I Felt Like the World Was Falling Down on Me’: Adolescent Girls’ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Dominican Republic,” documents how authorities have stalled the rollout of a long-awaited sexuality education program, leaving hundreds of thousands of adolescent girls and boys without scientifically accurate information about their health. The country has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The country’s total ban on abortion means an adolescent girl facing an unwanted pregnancy must continue that pregnancy against her wishes or obtain a clandestine abortion, often at great risk to her health and even her life.