Legislation to prevent child marriage around the globe was just introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 2103) and U.S. Senate (S. 987). Most young people who are married under age 18 are girls, and in some countries, as many as 76% of girls are married before age 18.
For the more than 100 million girls in the developing world who will be married in the next ten years, it is critical that this legislation passes. Call or email Congress TODAY and ask them to cosponsor this legislation. Click here to find your Senator’s contact information, and click here to find your Representative’s contact information. Write your own note, or use the text below:
I strongly urge you to cosponsor the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Actto protect girls around the world from the child marriage – a health and human rights violation with grave consequences. Young brides are at increased risk of:
· Becoming infected with sexually transmitting infections, including HIV. Often married to much older men who have had multiple sexual partners, girls are likely powerless to use a condom in marriage.
· Maternal mortality. Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die during childbirth or pregnancy than older women; girls ages 15-19 are twice as likely to die.
· Obstetric fistula. This debilitating condition results when a girl’s body is not developed enough to give birth, and causes chronic incontinence.
· Dropping out of school. Young girls are often forced to leave school as soon as they are married.
This legislation is crucial to securing a just and healthy life for every woman and girl. Healthier young people will shape a healthier, more just world!
Click here to watch a PBS NOW special on child marriage about the effects the practice has on the health and rights of girls and entire communities.