|Congress to Consider Bold Legislation to Combat Child Marriage Globally|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IWHC Commends Co-Sponsors and
New York - Leadership of the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) today lauded the introduction of legislation in the United States House of Representatives to combat child marriage.
The "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2007," introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and co-sponsors, would authorize $25 million a year for five years to empower girls and prevent child marriages, including by promoting community understanding of the practice's harmful impacts.
"A twelve-year-old girl should be in school, making friends and learning skills she'll need when she grows up," says Adrienne Germain, IWHC President. "She should not be forced to become pregnant, worry about raising children, care for an elderly husband-or die as she gives birth."
Because their bodies are not yet fully developed, child brides run a very high risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Young brides are also highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS when their husbands are older and sexually experienced. Most are forced to leave school when they marry.
"It is unconscionable that child marriage still happens today, and it is past time that we commit the resources needed to protect the human rights of girls and ensure their physical and mental health. We applaud Rep. McCollum and her co-sponsors. This bill should be enacted," concludes Germain.
For over two decades, IWHC has worked to promote and protect the rights and health of women and girls. The Coalition and several allied organizations worked with Rep. McCollum on the design and introduction of this legislation.
To arrange an interview with Adrienne Germain, contact Kelly Castagnaro. Click here for facts on child marriage around the world.