Reps. McCollum, Schock Again Team Up to Stop Devastating Impact of Child Marriage
Washington, DC –Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) have once again introduced legislation to stem the devastating impact of child marriage on young girls in developing countries. An estimated 10 million girls are married before the age of 18 each year, some as young as 7. The McCollum-Schock International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act, H.R. 6087, promotes and protects the rights of girls in the developing world.
H.R. 6087 declares child marriage to be a human rights abuse, establishes a strategy to prevent child marriage and promote the empowerment of girls, integrates the issue of preventing child marriage into existing US development programs, and requires that relevant agencies collect and make available data on the rates of child marriage and its impact on meeting key development goals.
“Child marriage condemns tens of millions of young girls in developing countries to a life of poverty and suffering,” said Congresswoman McCollum. “The United States must be a leader in ending this human rights abuse. The Senate has done its job. Now it is up to the House to pass this bill.”
“This is a tragedy that is happening on an epic scale around the world, and this issue doesn’t receive the attention in the U.S. that it deserves,” said Congressman Aaron Schock. “On my trip with CARE to Ethiopia two years ago, I saw first-hand how child marriage devastates young girls physically and emotionally, and destroys any future economic opportunity they once possessed. Girls whose bodies are not yet fully grown having babies frequently causes fistulas, which is a vicious medical problem that leads to incontinence and other horrific problems at a very young age. Children having babies accelerates the cycle of poverty and instability. This crisis has moral, economic and national security consequences for our country.”
Companion legislation passed the U.S. Senate recently led by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).