CNN reports on Thursday that Planned Parenthood of New York City is lashing out regarding a new campaign targeting teenage pregnancy. The organization claims that the posters ignore the racial, economic and social factors that contribute to teenage pregnancy while inappropriately shames and stigmatizes its target audience.
With one poster showing a crying baby accompanied with a message, “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen,” criticism has to be expected. Others are delivering messages to their hypothetical parents like, "Honestly, mom... chances are he won't stay with you. What happens to me?" The small print adds that 90% of teen parents don't marry each other.
The mayor’s office states it was “past time” to be “value neutral” about the issue. The city officials made it clear that they feel it’s important to put some muscle into this campaign and “send a strong message that teen pregnancy has consequences” that are extremely life-altering.
In a world where children are often over-coddled these days, perhaps in-your-face messages is what is needed. There is something to be said for “saying it like it is” and even though the campaign may seem a little rough around the edges with the message, a softer approach has certainly seen its fair share of criticism as well.
However, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of education and training, Haydee Morales states, "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."
So, how much money is the New York City Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services dishing out for this? The campaign reportedly chimes in to the tune of $400,000.
It is hard to ignore that 41% of women who gave birth before the ripe old age of 20 were living in poverty within the first year of their child’s birth. To add injury to insult, the chances of living in poverty rose to 50% when their child reached three years old according to Jessica Sheets Pika, spokeswoman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Pika adds that as their children grow up, their likelihood of living in poverty increases.
This debate will continue until the end of days.
Here is some food for thought: If your small child runs into the road wouldn’t you want to convey in a very strong way that this is a pretty bad idea?