Wednesday, March 6, 2013

NYC Teen Pregnancy Prevention Ad Campaign

As pro-lifers, how should we approach teen pregnancy? On the one hand, it's important to keep teens informed about risks of pregnancy, ways to prevent pregnancy, and challenges they will face if they become pregnant. On the other hand, teens should know what resources are at their disposal during pregnancy and, at least as important, that choosing life is the right thing to do. We need to consider both pregnancy prevention and pregnancy support.  

Balancing these can be tricky. It’s the same challenge parents face when they want to keep their teen from engaging in sex (often with good reasons) but also want their teen to know how to be safer if the teen does decide to have sex. Finding that balance isn’t always straightforward, but it's still necessary.

Consider the New York City Human Resource Administration (HRA) teen pregnancy prevention program in which ads will be displayed in subways and bus shelters citywide. The HRA site says:
HRA’s new Teen Pregnancy Prevention campaign shows the high costs teen pregnancy can have for both teen parents and their children. The campaign features ads with hard-hitting facts about the money and time costs of parenting, and the negative consequences of having a child before you are ready.
Obviously teen pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park. But people who advocate for messages like this:

and this:

don't seem concerned with how this affects the abortion rate. HRA intends these ads to be preventative, but how do they look to a teen who is already pregnant, or has already gotten someone pregnant?

Imagine a pregnant teen. She feels as if the rug has been pulled out from under her. She's completely frightened, and unsure where to turn. Will these ads encourage her to choose life?

Preventing abortion means preventing pregnancy and supporting mothers. Ad campaigns like this ignore half of the equation--probably because the goal is just to prevent birth. I understand trying to prevent pregnancy, but how can we do that while still supporting those who are already pregnant? What are the best methods to warn teens about the challenges of pregnancy without inadvertently pushing them to get abortions? 


Jameson Graber said...

There are a lot of messed up messages one can read in these posters.

Natalie said...

Yeah. This reads pretty manipulative to pregnant teens to me.

Joan Hall said...

A friend of mine had an uninvited adoption agency worker talk that same kind of stuff to her in her hospital room, trying to coerce her to give up her newborn for adoption. She was 16. (She kept her baby, who is now a grown man.)

Kelsey said...

Wow, that is outrageous. I'm an attorney, and what you're describing definitely violates legal ethical rules (at least, as they stand today). If an adoption attorney did that, he or she could be sanctioned by the bar. Even if the agency worker isn't an attorney, but is merely under the *supervision* of an attorney, it's definitely not okay. I'm glad to hear that your friend stood up to that bully! Adoption is a good path for some, but it isn't for everyone. And a decision of that magnitude certainly shouldn't be made under pressure right after you've given birth!

Blessing Palyo-Herman said...

It happens with abortion! So much so that there is a legal fund for it:

both sides are bad so vote R said...

The message is, "don't have unprotected sex". The message is not, "go get an abortion" you might think that secretly they want women to get an abortion but that's just not true, sorta like how pro-lifers secretly hate contraception even though they say they only hate abortion-- wait that's not a good analogy.

Anonymous said...

Abortion and contraception are both ant-life and therefore gravely immoral. The purpose of sex is to pro create. Its for marraige.

Laura Nicholson said...

The message is a poor one, whatever you say. Even PP thought so:

“The latest NYC ad campaign creates stigma, hostility and negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering
alternative aspirations for young people,” Haydee Morales, vice president of education and training at Planned Parenthood’s New York office, said in a statement released on Wednesday."

SPL is not anti-contraception. Sorry to be confusing.

tkchubb said...

To me it appears you may have missed the point. The point is to make teens consider the real consequences of GETTING pregnant. While well written, your position stresses supporting the teen during her pregnancy, but provides little insight into how to help the children. These ads show the stark reality of the lives of these babies that are born to teen mothers who chose life but did not choose adoption. If Pro Life organizations put half as much money, energy, passion, and human capital into supporting the children born to these teens as they do in trying to convince them to have their babies (and of course choose the best alternative, adoption) perhaps the statistically proven fate of these children could be changed. I understand that your mission is to save unborn babies, I get that...but what about the extremely poor, under-educated, malnourished children who are living in your community right now? Preventing unwanted pregnancy is the solution to both of these issues.