|United States Senate Passes Legislation to Prevent Child Marriage|
The International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) today lauded the passage of the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act by the U.S. Senate.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2010
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United States Senate Passes Legislation to Prevent Child Marriage
Bipartisan bill shapes new actions for protecting the rights and health of girls worldwide
December 2, 2010--- The International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) today lauded the passage of the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act by the U.S. Senate.
Every day girls as young as eight or nine are forced to marry men who are often decades older. Worldwide, more than 60 million girls between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18- often at the encouragement of their parents and often to much older men - with nosay in the decision.
Because their bodies are not yet fully developed, child brides run a very high risk of complications in pregnancy and childbirth-in fact, childbirth is the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-19. Young brides also are more likely to experience gender-based violence, and are highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act seeks to increase the effectiveness of current U.S. development investments by eliminating the harmful practice of child marriage. The U.S. invests more than $450 million each year in foreign assistance programs that are consistently undermined by the impacts of child marriage. If passed by the House, the bill would:
Now that the Senate has passed the legislation, the International Women's Health Coalition and other key allies including CARE and International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) urge the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass the legislation before Congress adjourns for the end of the year.
"The International Women's Health Coalition and our partners around the world applaud the Senate for passing this important legislation," said IWHC President Adrienne Germain. "We can make some real progress if the House of Representatives follows suit in supporting community and national efforts to end harmful practices that force young girls into marriages for which they are not physically, emotionally, or socially ready."
"Every girl deserves the chance to live a just and healthy life, and this bill is an important step forward."
The International Women's Health Coalition leads global and local actions to secure every woman's right to a just and healthy life. We are creating a world where women are free from discrimination, sexual coercion and violence, and have access to health services and information. Visit www.iwhc.org