Like a war between crime families, Planned Parenthood of New York City has launched an attack on the New York City Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services because of their teen pregnancy prevention campaign. Planned Parenthood’s motives aren’t hard to discern from the CNN story:
“The city’s money would be better spent helping teens access health care, birth control, and high-quality sexual and reproductive health education, not on an ad campaign intended to create shock value.”
Thus speaks the representative of an organization hungry for public funds to give teens those very things.
Nevertheless, looking at the ads, I have to admit I partially agree with Planned Parenthood’s criticism. For one thing, the campaign looks like it used President Obama’s statement that he wouldn’t want to “punish” his daughter by making her keep a baby. I even wonder if Planned Parenthood is trying to provide cover for the campaign by pretending to oppose it, since it seems aimed at promoting abortions as much as anything else.
CNN relays Planned Parenthood’s opposition as thus,
“The campaign ‘creates stigma, hostility and negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering alternative aspirations for young people’… Planned Parenthood said that it supports the initiatives and recognizes the importance of awareness and education, but added that the rate of teen pregnancies is affected by economic and societal factors such as poverty, violence, limited access to health care, as well as gender, racial and ethnic inequalities. ‘Teenage parenthood is simply not the disastrous and life-compromising event these ads portray,’ it said. ‘It’s time we focus on the root causes rather than point fingers at teen parents and their children.’”
This is all confused. It sounds like Planned Parenthood counts a lack of access to free or cheap abortions as a “root cause.” And, without a father, an impoverished family adding an unsupported grandchild can be a real burden.
But why not encourage teen families? It wasn’t that long ago that those were much more common in our society and were not seen as some kind of scandal. If we’re going to support a change in behavior, why not find ways to support marriages rather than assure the teen mother that “he won’t stay with you”? As one Christian writer put it in her article, Let’s Have More Teen Pregnancy,
“If we communicate to young people that we think they’re inherently incompetent that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it was not always the case. In fact, in the days when people married younger, divorce was much rarer. During the last half of the 20th century, as brides’ age rose from 20 to 25, the divorce rate doubled. The trend toward older, and presumptively more mature, couples didn’t result in stronger marriages. Marital durability has more to do with the expectations and support of surrounding society than with the partners’ age.”
What are these kids waiting for? To grow up? Subsidized life with recreational sex with a rotating group of partners won’t get them there. Are they waiting to “get their education first”? In the New York City “education” system, that is a lost cause. They will be better off searching for basic skills from tutors and volunteers who can help them. For the majority, staying in school is just a habit that serves the needs of public bureaucrats. It doesn’t help them at all.
I realize all this is scary. I have teen children and I don’t want them getting married any time soon. But we ought to acknowledge that, in areas of rampant teen pregnancy due to rampant teen sex, encouraging a fear of babies really increases part of the problem and doesn’t help anyone grow up. Furthermore, we live in an unprecedented time. We are at the cusp of a new age, though no one can time it exactly, when everyone will suddenly realize how worthless our so-called “education” really is. It will suddenly become obvious that keeping human beings in a childlike status during their late teens and even early twenties has robbed many young men and women of a valuable part of their lives.
If we get beyond individual stories to social issues, the fact is we are economically suffering from a lack of births (much of which is related to delaying babies) more than too many of them.