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Teenage pregnancy a cultural problem, not easily fixed by raising age of consent - Stokes

Development Economist Dr Chris Stokes has questioned whether Opposition Senator Damion Crawford's recommendation that the age of consent be increased from 16 to 18 will not solve the problem of teenage pregnancy.

Opposition Senator Damion Crawford, in his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Upper House on Friday, has called for the age increase in light of the high number of teen girls who have had to leave school after becoming pregnant.

But Dr Stokes, speaking Sunday on Radio Jamaica's weekly news review programme - That's A Rap, said the matter of the age of consent and young girls getting pregnant is more of a cultural problem.

Senator Crawford, pointing to reasons provided by UNICEF for an age of consent, Mr. Crawford explained that it is a tool used to protect adolescents from sexual abuse, from the consequences of early sexual activity on their rights and on their development.

He said if there are plans to extend the length of the high school term to seven years, adjustments should also be made to the age of consent.