Ending Child Marriage in Pennsylvania

Unchained At Last, the AHA Foundation and sponsors of HB2542/SB1219 will gather on September 25 at 9:00am in the Main Capitol Rotunda to discuss the bill to end child marriage in Pennsylvania. The bill’s primary sponsors include Representatives Jesse Topper and Perry Warren, as well as Senators John Sabatina, Guy Reschenthaler and Judith Schwank.

Shockingly, children of any age can marry in Pennsylvania, putting the state’s laws in line with those in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which also do not specify a minimum age for marriage. As of 2014, more than 2,300 children age 15 to 17 living in Pennsylvania had already been married.

Child marriage often is forced marriage, because children are nearly powerless to say no to a marriage – before it happens or once they are already in it – before they turn 18 and become legal adults. Further, the impacts of child marriage on girls’ health, education, economic opportunities and overall quality of life are devastating enough that the US State Department has called marriage before 18 a “human rights abuse.”

HB2542/SB1219 aims to eliminate this human rights abuse in PA by removing the gaping loopholes under which children can be married in the state. This press conference will acknowledge the sponsors of this important legislation and allow for questions regarding the bill.

ABOUT UNCHAINED AT LAST: Unchained is the only nonprofit dedicated to helping women and girls in the US to escape forced marriages. Unchained also is the only nonprofit dedicated to ending forced and child marriage in America; the organization started and now leads a growing national movement to eliminate child marriage in every US state. For more information about Unchained, visit unchainedatlast.org.

ABOUT THE AHA FOUNDATION: The AHA Foundation is a leading non-profit focused on stopping harmful cultural practices that affect women and girls in the US while promoting free speech and critical thinking. The AHA Foundation was established by human rights activity Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2007 and works to eliminate practices such as female genital mutilation, honor violence and forced marriages. For more information about the AHA Foundation, visit theahafoundation.org.

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