Legislation to Eliminate Child Marriage Passed in House of Representatives
The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009, an initiative to end child marriage in developing countries, passed in the House of Representatives on a 235-187 vote last week as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act.
According to Betty McCollum (D-MN), author of the original bill, the legislation affirms that "child marriage is a human rights violation that undermines America's investments in foreign assistance to improve women's and girl's education, health, and economic status." McCollum's original bill, which is adapted in Section 1111 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, calls for the Secretary of State, acting on behalf of the President, to research the ongoing practice of child marriage and develop a strategy to address it.
Child marriage remains a common practice in rural and impoverished areas in many countries, with 100 million girls expected to marry in the next ten years, according to the United Nations Population Fund. Child brides often have few or no educational opportunities, heightened pressure to reproduce, and lower long-term reproductive health.
Media Resources: Betty McCollum Press Release 6/10/09; H.R.2410; H.R.2103; United Nations Population Fund