New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) has recently launched a new ad campaign aimed at teen pregnancy that has caused quite a stir — and rightfully so. The campaign employs some of the most shameful tactics I have ever seen in the name of preventing teen pregnancy. These offensive ads (pictured after the jump) feature crying babies and blaming language that the HRA hopes will turn teenagers off from becoming parents.
Much of the wording places the onus of teen parenthood directly on the mother. Only one ad talks directly to young men (focusing on how much money he’ll have to pay in support), while the rest weigh heavily on the shoulders of young women, with one specifically focusing on how it’s highly likely a teen mom will end up raising her baby alone.
Is becoming a teen parent ideal or easy? No. Nobody is saying it is. But the way to go about preventing teen pregnancy isn’t by shaming and blaming those who already are young parents. The money that was spent on this horrible (and most likely ineffective) ad campaign could have been put to better use in more widespread comprehensive sex-education programs within the city. Keep reading »
Mostly when we discuss the “right to choose,” we focus on the right to safe and legal access to abortion. We mostly focus abortion as the “choice” because a woman’s right to make her own family planning decisions is constantly under attack from conservative politicians and the anti-abortion movement, both of which are pickled with the Religious Right.
But a woman’s right to make her own family planning decisions also includes the choice make a family — even, in a recent case out of Texas, if the woman in question is a pregnant 16-year-old girl whose parents were trying to force her to have an abortion. Keep reading »
Good news! Refusing to teach hormone-addled adolescents about how their bodies work and restricting them from contraceptive choices actually works!
Just kidding. No, it still doesn’t. But the teen birth rate in the United States has dropped to record lows. Keep reading »
Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra from MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” have been, surprisingly, one of the more controversial couples on the two shows. Catelynn was the only teen mom in the first season to carry her pregnancy to term and put the child up for adoption; the little girl, Carly, is now a toddler and the adoptive family is still in touch with the birth parents. Over the years, some people have wondered why Catelynn and Tyler are even on “Teen Mom” anymore, since she is not a day-to-day parent like the others on the show. Some have even suggested MTV might be exploitatively harming these two for keeping them on a show that’s sole focus is the child they gave up for adoption.
Catelynn and Tyler are in the news less now that younger casts of “Teen Mom” are in the limelight. To their credit, they haven’t had public battles with drug abuse, domestic violence and mental illness quite like Amber Portwood, another teen mom from the first season. They seem like basically good kids with solid heads on their shoulders; last year the two even got engaged and set a date for 2013.
But lately Catelynn’s been making headlines recently for another reason: she’s an anti-abortion extremist. Keep reading »
A new study called “The Contraceptive Choice Project” outlined in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology tracked over 9,000 women in St. Louis and found free birth control led to drastically lower rates of abortion and births by teen moms. The study gave a range of free birth control options to poor and uninsured women (those at the greatest risk for an unplanned pregnancy) between 2007 and 2011.
Access to birth control, including the most effective, implanted options — meant women had fewer abortions: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study. Not only is that lower than the national average of 20 abortions per 1,000 women but lower than the abortion rate for women in St. Louis, which is 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women. The Obstetrics & Gynecology study, published yesterday, predicted that one abortion could be prevented for every 79 to 137 women being given free contraception. Keep reading »