How Dominican women fight child marriage and teen pregnancy while facing total abortion bans


Explore Our Galleries

A man stands in front of the Djingareyber mosque on February 4, 2016 in Timbuktu, central Mali. 
Mali's fabled city of Timbuktu on February 4 celebrated the recovery of its historic mausoleums, destroyed during an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012 and rebuilt thanks to UN cultural agency UNESCO.
African Peoples Before Captivity
Shackles from Slave Ship Henrietta Marie
Kidnapped: The Middle Passage
Enslaved family picking cotton
Nearly Three Centuries Of Enslavement
Image of the first black members of Congress
Reconstruction: A Brief Glimpse of Freedom
The Lynching of Laura Nelson_May_1911 200x200
One Hundred Years of Jim Crow
Civil Rights protest in Alabama
I Am Somebody! The Struggle for Justice
Black Lives Matter movement
NOW: Free At Last?
#15-Beitler photo best TF reduced size
Memorial to the Victims of Lynching
hands raised black background
The Freedom-Lovers’ Roll Call Wall
Frozen custard in Milwaukee's Bronzeville
Special Exhibits
Dr. James Cameron
Portraiture of Resistance

Breaking News!

Today's news and culture by Black and other reporters in the Black and mainstream media.

Ways to Support ABHM?

By Maria Teresa Hernandez, Associated Press

Members of the Dominican National Confederation of Rural Women sing for visiting U.S. legislators and members of the Women’s Equality Center (AP Photo/Maria Hernandez).

AZUA, Dominican Republic (AP) — It was a busy Saturday morning at Marcia González’s church. A bishop was visiting, and normally she would have been there helping with logistics, but on this day she was teaching sex education at a local school.

“I coordinate activities at the church and my husband is a deacon,” González said. “The bishop comes once a year and children are being confirmed, but I am here because this is important for my community.”

For 40 years, González and her husband have pushed for broader sex education in the Dominican Republican, one of four Latin American nations that criminalizes abortion without exceptions. Women face up to 2 years in prison for having an abortion; penalties for doctors or midwives range from 5 to 20 years. […]

To help girls prevent unplanned pregnancies in this context, González and other activists have developed “teenage clubs,” where adolescents learn about sexual and reproductive rights, self-esteem, gender violence, finances and other topics. The goal is to empower future generations of Dominican women.

Outside the clubs, sex education is often insufficient, according to activists. Close to 30% of adolescents don’t have access to contraception. High poverty levels increase the risks of facing an unwanted pregnancy.

For the teenagers she mentors, González’s concerns also go beyond the impossibility of terminating a pregnancy.

According to activists, poverty forces some Dominican mothers to marry their 14 or 15-year-old daughters to men up to 50 years older. Nearly 7 out of 10 women suffer from gender violence such as incest, and families often remain silent regarding sexual abuse.

For every 1,000 adolescents between 15 and 19, 42 became mothers in 2023, according to the United Nations Population Fund. And until 2019, when UNICEF published its latest report on child marriage, more than a third of Dominican women married or entered a free union before turning 18.

Dominican laws have prohibited child marriage since 2021, but community leaders say that such unions are still common because the practice has been normalized and few people are aware of the statute.

Read more in the original article.

Discover in which American states abortion is banned in this Breaking News article.

Find even more Breaking News here.

Comments Are Welcome

Note: We moderate submissions in order to create a space for meaningful dialogue, a space where museum visitors – adults and youth –– can exchange informed, thoughtful, and relevant comments that add value to our exhibits.

Racial slurs, personal attacks, obscenity, profanity, and SHOUTING do not meet the above standard. Such comments are posted in the exhibit Hateful Speech. Commercial promotions, impersonations, and incoherent comments likewise fail to meet our goals, so will not be posted. Submissions longer than 120 words will be shortened.

See our full Comments Policy here.

Leave a Comment