Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shaming Teenage Pregnancy

Having suffered an ignominious defeat in the Battle of Big Gulp New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has just launched a new advertising campaign to stigmatize teen pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood is appalled, but sane writers of different persuasions have applauded the Mayor’s campaign.

Writing in The Root, a site that provides a black perspective, Keli Goff praises the campaign:

The campaign pulls no punches, featuring infant children surrounded by quotes about how their lives, and the lives of their families, are likely to turn out in households headed by teen parents. One poster reads, "If you finish high school, get a job, and get married before having children, you have a 98 percent chance of not being in poverty." Another reads, "I'm twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen."

Goff understands what the leaders of Planned Parenthood do not, namely that children born of unmarried teenage mothers do not have equal opportunity in American society.

Goff explains:

I just wonder if the women of privilege running Planned Parenthood, which has struggled with diversity in the past, realize that children born in poor communities deserve the same opportunities their kids do -- which means not just randomly distributing birth control but actually giving poor women the same information, incentives and life goals that women who grow up in privilege often take for granted. That includes providing accurate information about why when you choose to become a parent matters. 

The statistics are incontrovertible. Today Ann Coulter takes up the question and draws the same conclusion. She also enumerates, as she has in the past, the cost of out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

In Coulter’s words:

-- Controlling for socioeconomic status, race and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single mother.

-- At least 70 percent of juvenile murderers, pregnant teenagers, high school dropouts, teen suicides, runaways and juvenile delinquents were raised by single mothers. 

-- A study back in 1990 by the Progressive Policy Institute showed that, absent single motherhood, there would be no difference in black and white crime rates. 

And yet, Planned Parenthood and other liberal luminaries are horrified to see single motherhood stigmatized by the ads.

Both Goff and Coulter point out that no one blinked when liberals set out to shame smokers or gun owners.

Goff explains:

For anyone who thinks shame is not an effective motivator, ask any smokers if that's true. For the record, Attorney General Eric Holder once argued that if we shamed gun owners the way we've shamed smokers, we'd have less crime. No, I'm not comparing teen moms to criminals, but I am comparing them to those with questionable judgment, like smokers.

Coulter catalogues the many liberal efforts to stigmatize behaviors that they do not approve of:

Far from opposing stigmas, liberals are the main propagators of them -- against cigarettes, guns, plastic bags, obesity, not recycling, Fox News, racist "code words," not liking "Lincoln" and junk food.

The stigma against smoking has gone so swimmingly that you can't enjoy a little tobacco pleasure 50 yards from another human being without some bossy woman marching over and accusing you of poisoning her. 

California is currently running a series of "Reefer Madness"-style anti-smoking ads, including one that shows cigarette smoke going from a woman outside on her porch, up a story, through the door of another apartment, across the living room, down the hallway and into a room where a baby is sleeping. That would be the equivalent of the Bloomberg ads claiming teen pregnancy causes genocide. 

And what exactly was the purpose of the Journal-News publishing the names and addresses of every legal gun owner in various counties in New York state a few months ago? To congratulate them? To start a hunting club? 

No, I believe it was to stigmatize legal gun owners. The fact that we didn't already know who they were proved that the problem isn't legal gun ownership. All those legal guns -- and no rash of drive-by shootings! 

Los Angeles has banned plastic bags at supermarkets, even though reusable canvas bags are portable bacterial colonies. But a little ad campaign describing the downsides of teenage pregnancy -- which is still subsidized -- and liberals howl in protest. 

As I said, Planned Parenthood has objected fiercely to the efforts to shame unwed teenage mothers.

Goff writes:

Well, according to Planned Parenthood, "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." I'm not sure where to start with this lunacy. First off, I thought that as one of the nation's leading sexual-health organizations, Planned Parenthood would focus on decreasing the number of unplanned pregnancies, not celebrating and encouraging them. Did I miss something?

It would be too cynical to say that Planned Parenthood wants more teen pregnancies because it’s good for business, so let us limit ourselves to the less controversial fact that Planned Parenthood must believe, as an article of faith, that teenagers who are not having sex are repressing their sexuality and therefore at greater risk of becoming neurotic.

Perhaps you think that this is idiotic. That might be a good reason to hide it under a few layers of blather about offering “alternative aspirations for young people.”

Left thinking people believe that it is good for children to express their sexuality and that repressing it will make them crazy. I need not tell you where that idea originated.

There’s an easy way to test the idea. Ask yourself this: Are all of those Asian academic overachievers who are filling the halls of elite schools like Stuyvesant High School doing so well because they are having more and better carnal relations or because they are spending less time trying to get laid and more time working on calculus?


Sam L. said...

Teen-age pregnancy should be a boon to Planned Parenthood, and attempts to shame that should also be a boon. Why are they protesting? Doth the lady protest too much?

Kristi said...

They are are probably protesting that the ads are promoting abstinence, which is not a boon for PP. The ads also don't promote PP's preferred method of birth control. A live birth is a business loss. A birth avoided by abstinence or birth control is also a business loss for PP.

n.n said...

Finally, Bloomberg does something right. If people want to enjoy liberty, then they must be capable of self-moderating behavior. They must accept responsibility for the outcome of their voluntary behaviors. There is no more important responsibility than caring and guiding development of a new human life from conception to adulthood.

Is it possible that this generation's liberals has confronted reality and discovered something worth conserving?

Well, whatever the cause, I welcome this new stream of consciousness. It is well past time to end the progressive devaluation of human life. If we hope to preserve our advanced state of civilization, men and women need to make better choices.