Every two seconds a girl is married before the age of 18. Let’s not mince words — child marriage is a dangerous abuse of children that cannot be allowed to persist anywhere, any longer.

The United States is no exception. Child marriage is still legally permitted in 48 of 50 states and across the country, most children who marry are girls wed to adult men. Child marriage has devastating effects on girls’ health, education and economic opportunities. If you’re an American girl who marries before the age of 18, you’re 31% more likely to experience poverty later in life.

In Pennsylvania, the minimum marriage age is 18, but the law includes two loopholes: children age 16 or 17 can marry with parental “consent,” and children under 16 can marry with parental “consent” and judicial approval. In 2014, an estimated 2,323 children age 15 to 17 living in Pennsylvania had already been married.

Legislation is currently pending in Pennsylvania that would eliminate these loopholes. To end child marriage for good, we need leaders in Pennsylvania to prioritize this legislation and pass it this year, so that the Governor can sign the bill into law.

All of this is possible in 2019, but legislators must be pushed to move swiftly. Send an email to Pennsylvania’s lawmakers and demand they prioritize this legislation to end child marriage this year!