There are approximately five million women aged 15–19 in the Philippines, and they account for one-fifth of the country’s women of reproductive age. The Guttmacher Institute has released an updated fact sheet, the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young Women in the Philippines: 2013 Data Update, which describes the state of their sexual and reproductive health.
The fact sheet, which draws on the 2013 Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey, presents data on young women’s sexual activity, marital status, use of reproductive health care, pregnancy and childbearing experience, sexual and reproductive health knowledge, and gender inequality and social norms. The survey data show that 29% of married adolescent Filipinas have an unmet need for contraception; this proportion is much higher than that among women in all other age-groups. Moreover, almost equivalent proportions of married adolescent women rely on less-effective traditional methods and on modern methods (17% and 19%, respectively). Nearly one-third (32%) of all births to women younger than 20 are unplanned.
To address the high level of unmet need among Filipina adolescents, it is critical to expand access to family planning counseling and to provide the full range of contraceptive methods. Sexual and reproductive health services that are youth-friendly—confidential, affordable and nonjudgmental—are especially needed.