Unplanned pregnancies among girls under 18 years of age continue worrying public and private institutions in Mexico, as the country has the highest rate of teen pregnancies among all OECD countries. To address this matter, public and private institutions are prioritizing sex education among younger generations.
According to SIPINNA, sex education should not be taboo because, contrary to what is commonly thought, it does not interfere nor stimulate the start of sexual lives at a younger age. “Sex education is extremely important. We can not deny our faculties for enjoying sexuality,” said Guillermo Rodríguez, Director, INJUVE.
During the pandemic, pregnancies increased by 30 percent. Around 8,876 girls under 14 years old got pregnant during isolation and from this number. In Mexico City, Xochimilco has the highest number of irregular settlements, conditions that force girls in the municipality to start being sexually active from a very young age, said Deputy Alejandra Vicuña. A great number of pregnancies during adolescence occur because of lack of knowledge of contraceptive methods.
The National Prevention Strategy of Pregnancies in Adolescents (ENAPEA), which promotes the implementation of integral sex education (EIS) in Mexico, must be tailored to every region to succeed in the country, said Rodríguez. EIS considers sexuality as part of social and human development. Those who receive EIS develop abilities, aptitudes, knowledge and values that ensure their development, he added.
Rodríguez added that the current approach to sex education should be more inclusive to avoid undesired pregnancies and violence. ENAPEA has implemented the campaign “¡Yo decido! Mi futuro” (I choose! My future), which offers information on the risks and the options available to exercise a safe sex life.
According to FEMESS, out of the 119 organizations that provide EIS, 72 percent are private entities, 15 percent are public and the rest do not have a legal figure. Over 45 percent of these organizations are based in Mexico City, followed by Jalisco with 15 percent and Nuevo Leon with 5 percent. The financing that these organizations receive comes mainly from federal and state governments and international organizations. Half of the IES services offered in the country are free.
According to the General Law of Children’s Rights, adults, teachers and authorities must guarantee human rights to the youth. Also, quality sex education is part of international agreements, specifically regarding the right to access appropriate health-related information.
On March 7, CONAPO, IMJUVE, UNFPA and Organon signed a memorandum of understanding to prevent teenage pregnancies in Xochimilco, where Organon has a manufacturing plant. Sex education is at the forefront of the project.