‘Not just a woman’s or girl’s issue’: Author Rosca contextualizes teenage pregnancy surge

February 18, 2021 - 6:27 PM
A photo of a pregnant woman (Image by Boris Gonzalez from Pixabay)

Men should also be concerned with the issue of early or teenage pregnancy, according to award-winning writer Ninotchka Rosca.

Rosca is also a human rights activist who helped established women’s rights organizations in the country.

On Wednesday, a Facebook user compiled screenshots of Rosca’s comments on the November 2020 Social Weather Station survey that states that Filipinos find “teen pregnancy as the most important problem of women today.”


In the survey that discussed the most important problems of women today, 59% of the respondents find teenage pregnancy as the most important problem of women, followed by physical violence and unexpected pregnancy (both 11%).

The survey was conducted from Nov. 21 to 25, 2020 and commissioned by the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom). They used face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults.

The report on the poll elicited comments on the importance of sex education among the youth.

Based on the screenshots, Rosca stressed that the burden of early pregnancy should not be shouldered solely by women.

“First, who are the men impregnating these kids, and what are their ages? This problem will never be resolved if people keep thinking it’s only a woman’s or girl’s issue. Five hundred years of telling girls not to do it but ignoring the men who do hasn’t cut it, is not cutting it, and won’t cut it,” she said.

In the replies thread of her comment, Rosca also cited more facts on why the burden of responsibility should also be placed on males.

“A female can only be pregnant once a year; a male can impregnate one woman per day theoretically. Why is the burden of responsibility on the female? Train one girl how to protect herself and you’re just training the male to do it to another less informed female. That is the equation. Fact-based,” she said.

Reproductive abuse

The Filipino author also cited “reproductive abuse” among poor Filipinos.

“I have been screaming this for decades po; teach men to be responsible about sex and pregnancy. There is such a thing as reproductive abuse. Nakatira na nga sa drain pipe, eh lima pa ang anak,” Rosca said.

PopCom earlier released a report that in 2019, the number of young moms below 15 years old jumped by 7% compared to the previous year, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

This number translates to 2,411 girls who are still in pre-teen and early teenage years.

The organization also cited two 10-year-old girls who gave birth to their own babies, one in Metro Manila and another in Southern Luzon.

Similar to Rosca, women’s rights advocates also raised the possibility that these mothers could be victims of rape, assault and domestic violence.

READ: Importance of sex education stressed amid report on rising teenage pregnancies