NY Times photo essay on “Child, Bride, Mother”

In case you haven’t seen this February 8, 2015, NY Times piece by Stephanie Sinclair, Child, Bride, Mother, please take a look. The photo essay is part of a series about child brides around the world; in this case the focus is on Guatemala. It’s a story many of us know first-hand, or through friends. From the article:

“In Guatemala, the legal age of marriage is 14 with parental consent, but in Petén, in the northern part of the country, the law seems to be more of a suggestion. Underage brides are everywhere.”

Organizations do promote contraception in some larger villages and towns, but culturally, it is not always accepted or understood. In 2006, the Guttmacher Institute did a study of reproductive health in Guatemala, titled Induced Abortion and Unintended Pregnancy in Guatemala. The study states that 32% of pregnancies in Guatemala are unintended. Abortion is illegal in Guatemala, but the study found an estimated 65,000 abortions are performed annually, for an average of one abortion for every six live births. Complications from unsafe abortions are a leading cause of maternal death in Guatemala.

Thousands of poor young women in Guatemala have little control over their own lives. Basics we take for granted here–education, nutrition, healthcare, reproductive autonomy–are out of reach for them. And as this photo essay illustrates, even today, the cycle continues.

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