The Popularization of Teen Pregnancy

With Snooki being pregnant I have recently started thinking a lot about pregnancy in the media lately.  Over the past few years there has been this surge in pregnancies of teens and unwed women.  I’m certainly not against a woman deciding to have a child without being married but I do feel that a pregnancy absolutely must be planned and must happen when one is emotionally, physically, and financially ready.  Snooki is in no way prepared to have a child and that got me thinking of all the teen moms being glamorized on TV.  There are shows like Teem Mom and 16 and Pregnant.  They seem to give young girls hope that they can have a kid that young and make it work and I just can’t get behind those shows.

I know the intention of those programs is not to glamorize it but in effect that is what they do.  It gets young girls thinking that it is socially acceptable to have a child at that age with no plan or financial backing.  It makes girls even think that they may get on TV for such actions and perhaps inspires teen pregnancy which is just a horrible byproduct of these reality programs.  Young girls are desperate for positive role models and peers with a strong, positive influence.  Shows like the Jersey Shore or these teen pregnancy shows give young women horrible examples of what their lives can be like or how to grow into adulthood.  Women should be aspiring for college and/or careers, financial independence, and strong self confidence.  They should not be looking to be a mother before they are even out of high school or thinking that adulthood is just about partying and getting drunk.  Young women need better role models and I just have to make a complaint that society is not providing them.

I hate to get political on my blog because I am really not very political and do not know enough to hold my own in a political conversation however I have to make a call for sex education in the public and private school systems.  How this is not mandatory and how schools are getting away with abstinence only education programs is beyond me.  Hormones are strong in youth…a lot stronger than a pact to remain celibate.  Some teens are going to have sex, it’s a fact so we might as well arm them with the knowledge of how to prevent disease and pregnancy–it’s a public health issue of massive proportions.  We nuder our dogs and cats to prevent over population of animals but we don’t arm our youth with the tools to prevent unwanted pregnancies which has a much greater impact on society.  I’m certainly not for castrating anyone and that is not what I’m saying so do not confuse my analogy to something dark.  I am just stating that we are more concerned with our animal population than our human one and do little to prevent teen pregnancy and STDs.  STDs and pregnancies are nearly 100% preventable if birth control and condoms are used.  Yes, I know that they are only 96% effective but combined pregnancy is near impossible.   Sure nothing is full proof but protection is far better than nothing and abortion should remain an option as an unwanted child can lead to an array of public health and safety issues that have severe ramifications on society.  I will not delve into this any further because I do not want to open up a political can of worms but I’m just saying, it’ s a necessary option for many women.  But it is only an option.  Additionally, I just want to note that unplanned pregnancy puts a huge burden on the medicaid system and welfare.  For example in 2006, two-thirds (64%) of the 1.6 million births resulting from unintended pregnancies were paid for by public insurance programs, primarily Medicaid. In comparison, 48% of births overall and 35% of births resulting from intended pregnancies were funded by these programs.

Anyway, I have gotten far off topic here and mainly just wanted to rant for a minute about these teen pregnancy shows and Hollywood in general glamorizing teen pregnancy.  Having worked in healthcare and having helped oversee a pediatric practice specializing in teen health, I have seen what city life is like for teens and the rampant nature of teen pregnancy and unprotected sex.  This should not be made out to be normal or glamorous and something really needs to be done about the public conceptualization of teen pregnancy.  I welcome all comments on this article, good and bad, as I know it is highly controversial.  Thoughts?

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