NYC Pregnancy Ads Shame Teen Parents
April 11, 2013
Picture yourself as a teen mom in New York City. You’re trying to balance the difficulties of high school—grades, zits and a crush on the captain of the football team—with the parental responsibilities of changing diapers, breastfeeding and working.
It’s 7:45 a.m., you’re exhausted and you’re waiting for the bus. You were up until 3 a.m. last night, not studying for your chemistry test, but trying to get your baby to fall asleep. You sit patiently at the stop, as another bus passes by. The ad plastered on its side, with the image of a little girl, reads, “Honestly mom…chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”
This ad, part of the New York Human Resources Administration (HRA) campaign, uses statistical information to send a message to teens about the consequences of pregnancy. But while the statistics might be true, this campaign is inconsiderate and hurtful, and it reinforces the stereotype of irresponsible teen parents.
One of the other ads says, “Think being a teen parent won’t cost you?” Well, what do you expect a teen to do once they’re already taking care of another life? They know having a child comes with financial costs. Maybe, instead of telling them that their child is “twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had [him/her] as a teen” or that “you’ll be paying to support [him/her] for the next 20 years,” take a different approach. Instead of putting teen parents down, teach them how to deal with being a parent. And if this campaign is meant to scare teens into not having sex, understand that there are better ways to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Educating teens about methods of safer sex would be a much more effective way of prevention— and it’s one that doesn’t ignorantly shame teenage parents.