I’ve been in utter shock since hearing of this new ad campaign in New York City aimed at preventing teen pregnancy. While I support and strongly encourage efforts to help teenagers to avoid becoming pregnant – including comprehensive and medically accurate sex education, access to contraceptives and abortion, and a culture that allows teens to talk about sex openly and honestly rather than shaming them – this ad campaign will do harm by perpetuating stereotypes and further discouraging and stigmatizing teen parents. Consider the following four points:
The ads play on stereotypes and shame teen parents. People will see the sad faces of the babies in the ads and assume that children of teen mothers are not happy or well-cared-for. The messages about reduced graduation rates and a life in poverty paint teen mothers as incompetent and unworthy of motherhood. It is a message that mothers who live in poverty – especially young mothers of color – receive all too often. The ads perpetuate this message by featuring mostly children of color Rather than recognizing the difficulty of being a teen parent or emphasizing the importance of delaying pregnancy until after educational and career goals are met, these ads only call negative attention to them.
The CDC published new data today showing that the teen birth rate in the U.S. dropped to a historic low in 2011. The CDC attributes this in part to teens using contraception more regularly and more effectively. This is great news for a number of obvious reasons. But what it makes me really excited about is how the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage provision could help reduce these rates even more in the coming years.
Yes, I recognize how wonky my excitement is, but think about it: these new statistics are from a period of time before the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement went into effect. Imagine what might be coming down the road for us as more and more women have access to contraceptive coverage without worrying that they won’t be able to afford the co-pay at the pharmacy. Read more »
Welcome to December! As usual, we’ve got another end-of-the-week roundup for you. This week: stories on teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. and sex education, pondering whether or not Apple’s Siri is pro-choice or anti-choice, ways to find a mentor, some new videos in the NWLC library, and this week’s HERvotes blog carnival.
You know the routine by now: another Friday, another roundup. This week I’ve got a few things on sexual abuse, teen sexuality at home and abroad, more on the Freedom Riders, and the plight of college graduates who haven’t had the opportunity to leave the nest quite yet. Read more »