23 Jan 2012

American Samoa support for higher marriage age

7:10 am on 23 January 2012

The Director of the Office of Youth And Women Affairs in American Samoa, Leiataua Leuga Turner, says she supports a bill to increase the age of marriage for a girl from 14 to 17.

Leiataua says there are so many cases where teenage girls who become pregnant get married to their babies' fathers and these marriages only last a short time.

Quoting Department of Health statistics, she says of 1300 babies born in a year, between 300-400 are born to teenage mothers.

She said teenage mothers are not equipped for motherhood, they don't have jobs to take care of their babies and generally their babies have health risks.

Leiataua recommends that the age of marriage be raised to 18 or 19.

The Attorney General Fepulea'i Afa Ripley Jr says marriage for a teenage mother may be a good thing because the husband would help take care of the child.