Pregnant Teen Girls Gone Wild

20 06 2008

The question of what to do next has divided this fiercely Catholic enclave. . .Gloucester [MA] isn’t sure it wants to provide easier access to birth control. In any case, many residents worry that the problem goes much deeper. . .

“Families are broken,” says school superintendent Christopher Farmer. “Many of our young people are growing up directionless.”

If there are words for this pregnant power of story, I haven’t found them yet. How about you?

Once again, the news has touched off a round of soul-searching and finger-pointing. According to the Time article, adults in Gloucester variously blame a depressed local economy, broken families, adrift children, difficult access to birth control, and hit movies like “Juno” and “Knocked Up” that they say glamorize pregnancy to young audiences.

Bad examples set by celebrities off-screen did not come up, though, and no one Time talked to in Gloucester seems to have mentioned the most famous teen mother of the moment.

As American society, shall we teach our girls that teen pregnancy is desirable, or not? That it represents hope or fear? For the young mom, is it reward or punishment?

(Are these even questions with right answers to be had?)

Maybe I haven’t found the words yet, but the words of Alfie Kohn and Barack Obama come to mind.

Kohn of course wrote “Punished By Rewards” and Barack Obama said — here’s much more context than you may have gotten from the attacks on his words — in PA during the March 29 edition of CNN’s Ballot Bowl 2008:

OBAMA: . . . So, when it comes to — when it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include — which should include abstinence only — should include abstinence education and teaching that children — teaching children, you know, that sex is not something casual. But it should also include — it should also include other, you know, information about contraception because, look, I’ve got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old. I’m going to teach them first of all about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at the age of 16.

You know, so, it doesn’t make sense to not give them information. You still want to teach them the morals and the values to make good decisions. That will be important, number one. Then we’re still going to have to provide better treatment for those who do have Read the rest of this entry »