Statement

Statement: UNFPA Thailand welcomes consideration of draft bill on teenage pregnancy prevention

27 July 2015

UNFPA Thailand welcomes consideration of draft bill on teenage pregnancy prevention

27 July 2015, Bangkok -- UNFPA Thailand welcomes progress in Thailand's efforts to reverse the current trends of teen pregnancy. The movement by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in forwarding the legislation on teenage pregnancy prevention to the Cabinet for consideration on 23 July 2015 is a good step towards enabling Thai adolescents to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.

For the past four decades, UNFPA Thailand has been supporting and playing a major role in Thailand's family planning and HIV/AIDs prevention policies and implementation. UNFPA Thailand is committed to continuing its support for the country as it transitions from an upper-middle income country to a developed nation where everyone is counted and everyone's potential is fulfilled. Protecting young citizens from a lack of knowledge and ensuring provision of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services will allow their capacity to be fulfilled and maximized for the ultimate productivity of the country.

UNFPA Thailand embraces the draft bill requirements of compulsory comprehensive sexuality education in all academic institutions, provision of sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents, and access to continued education for pregnant students. Additionally, we advocate that the bill should have a strong evidence base and be fully aligned with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which requires youth empowerment and inclusiveness. UNFPA Thailand supports the recast of Section 4 of the draft bill to ensure that Thailand follows rights-based youth inclusiveness and empowerment that respect young people's rights to make their own decisions surrounding their sexual and reproductive life. Empirically supported, international experiences in prevention and alleviation of teenage pregnancy show that success lies in empowering and including young people.

Caspar Peek, UNFPA Representative for Thailand and Country Director for Malaysia, comments on the introduction of the draft bill on the teenage pregnancy prevention by the NLA to the Cabinet, ‘UNFPA Thailand embraces the fact that the NLA sees the urgency in and the importance of reversing the trend of teenage pregnancy. Nevertheless, all initiatives in this bill should build on evidence and fact, not dogma, and should seek to listen to the voices of young people and empower them. That way, the bill will enable youth to make responsible decisions as citizens of the country. Preventing more than one hundred thousand unplanned pregnancies among teens each year will ensure that the country has the skilled workforce who will be economically responsible for the ageing Thai society in the near future.''

Mr. Peek also advocates that ‘the empirical success from international experiences in prevention and alleviation of teenage pregnancy lies in key elements including youth empowerment to have knowledge and practical skills in sexual and reproductive health and access to non-discriminatory sexual and reproductive health services that safeguard the rights of adolescents to privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed consent. Youth empowered by sexual and reproductive rights will be able to live a responsible life with others, both sexually and socially.

Support the passing of the bill by sharing our statement posted on www.facebook.com/UnfpaThailand with the hashtag, #TeenPregnancyBillforThailand.

For further information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, visit Thailand.unfpa.org.

For further media information, please contact Kullwadee Sumalnop: sumalnop@unfpa.org or 02-687-0130.