World Population Day 2013 Raises Teen Pregnancy Awareness

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Indian mother Sonia (R) looks on as her newborn baby girl sleeps at a government hospital in Amritsar on July 11, 2013, on the occasion of World Population Day. Africa and Asia are the continents that will see the fastest urban population growth in the next 40 years, a UN report said earlier in the year noting that India and China are leading the surge. The Earth's population is expected to roughly triple by 2050 compared to a century earlier. It stood at three billion in 1950, reached seven billion in 2011 and is likely to reach about 9.5 billion by 2050 -- a rise that will occur especially in the poorest countries, according to UN estimates. AFP PHOTO/NARINDER NANU (Photo credit should read NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian mother Sonia (R) looks on as her newborn baby girl sleeps at a government hospital in Amritsar on July 11, 2013, on the occasion of World Population Day. Africa and Asia are the continents that will see the fastest urban population growth in the next 40 years, a UN report said earlier in the year noting that India and China are leading the surge. The Earth's population is expected to roughly triple by 2050 compared to a century earlier. It stood at three billion in 1950, reached seven billion in 2011 and is likely to reach about 9.5 billion by 2050 -- a rise that will occur especially in the poorest countries, according to UN estimates. AFP PHOTO/NARINDER NANU (Photo credit should read NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations designates every July 11 to highlight issues related to population growth, including environmental sustainability, global development, health care and youth empowerment.

With 16 million girls under 18 giving birth and 3.2 million of these teens experiencing unsafe abortions each year, the U.N. has focused the theme of 2013's World Population Day on teenage pregnancy, highlighting the important role that teen girls play in positively impacting future generations and underscoring the importance of providing them with adequate health care and educational resources.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement today raising awareness about the dangers and complications of unplanned teenage pregnancies.

"Complications from pregnancy and childbirth can cause grave disabilities, such as obstetric fistula, and are the leading cause of death for these vulnerable young women," he wrote. "Adolescent girls also face high levels of illness, injury and death due to unsafe abortion."

The Secretary-General also proposed various solutions to address core issues of the teen pregnancy epidemic.

"To address these problems, we must get girls into primary school and enable them to receive a good education through their adolescence. When a young girl is educated, she is more likely to marry later, delay childbearing until she is ready, have healthier children, and earn a higher income," he stated.

Several nonprofits worldwide have taken to Twitter to highlight the issue of population growth and this year's theme of teen pregnancy.

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