Probably everyone can agree that teens shouldn’t be parents. No doubt there are many great teen parents, but many believe becoming a parent should be a decision — especially at that age — and there are few teens who are in a financial position to start a family or to properly raise a child.
Probably everyone can agree that telling teen women that they’re worthless and not capable of being loved, is vile and offensive. And yet, New York City tax payers, thanks to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are effectively doing just that in the Bloomberg administration’s $400,000 ad campaign.
“‘I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen,’” the text next to his head reads,” the New York Times reports:
In another poster, a dark-skinned little girl casts her eyes to the sky and says, “Honestly Mom … chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”
These images, part of a public education campaign targeting teenage pregnancy that the city unveiled this week, are drawing mounting criticism from reproductive health advocates, women who had children as teenagers, and others who say they reinforce negative stereotypes about teenage mothers without offering any information to help girls prevent unplanned pregnancies.
The criticism escalated Wednesday into a sharp exchange between the mayor’s office and Planned Parenthood of New York City, typically an ally of the administration on reproductive health matters. Planned Parenthood issued a statement denouncing the poster campaign, saying that it ignored the racial, economic and social factors that contribute to teenage pregnancy and instead stigmatized teenage parents and their children.
The mayor’s office responded, saying that it was “past time” to be “value neutral” about teenage pregnancy and that it was important to “send a strong message that teen pregnancy has consequences — and those consequences are extremely negative, life-altering and most often disproportionately borne by young women.”
Image via Flickr by NYC Human Resources Administration
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.