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The Teenage Pregnancy Equation–from the Mailbag: teenage mothers should not give birth

July 2, 2009
Anti-teenage pregnancy III
Image by Polina Sergeeva via Flickr

I recently got a provocative comment in from a reader, whose image I used when I wrote about Candies Anti-Teenage Pregnancy Campaign, and I thought it was worth posting for discussion.  The artist, who took the pictures of sullen looking teenage girls with dolls proclaims that girls are being punished not for their sexuality, but for giving birth to children they can’t care for:

This image you have used is my artwork. It was made AGAINST teenage pregnancy, aka “Babies Having Babies”. Girls are being punished not for getting pregnant, but for carrying out a baby into the world. Bringing a child they have no ability to raise or support. I am pro-choice and that was the idea behind this image.

Thank you for the attention you have given to my artwork, I appreciate your feedback =)

While I understand that the topic of teenage pregnancy ignites a lot discussion, I also adamantly support a woman’s right to give birth or not, as she may choose:

Dear Polina Sergeeva,
I agree that babies having babies does offend some people, and while I agree that every woman has the right to choose her own response to her fertility (abortion or carrying to term), it is a woman’s right to do as she chooses. I don’t think many people are “for” teenage pregnancy, but if teenagers choose to give birth, then they have that right, as well as the right to terminate. Why should girls be punished for bringing a baby into the world when the boys are part of the equation? I, too, support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, at any age, but I wouldn’t dream of prescribing to any woman whether or not she should birth a baby. The problem that I see is that boys/men routinely cast blame and share no responsibility.
I do like your artwork, and I think that it’s provocative. I am using the image gleaned from Zemanta to showcase opinions. I think the artwork stands on its own merits.

I’ve posted the image again above, and you can read my post that began this discussion below:  In the teenage pregnancy equation(and the Candies ads): where are the fathers? (

I still think that women shouldn’t be punished for having children, regardless of how they get pregnant, because it takes two to make a baby.  In a further attack on the dignity of women and teenage mothers, a viral video, now pulled from YouTube depicts a teenager giving birth on a field, supposedly with a cell phone video.  It just serves to reinforce that the men (boys running around playing soccer) don’t have anything to do with birth as the spectator sport moves to a teenage actor pretending to give birth on the field.  It disappoints me because birth is then seen as a punishment, much as the comment above seems to feel women/teenagers should be punished for giving birth.  There is no such thing as sexual equality in our culture until the punishment of women for a mutual sexual result ends.  We won’t have true sexual freedom until people stop punishing the pregnant woman.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. student permalink
    July 4, 2009 3:51 am

    Should society pay the birth punishment or push half of the punishment to the father?

    • brokeharvardgrad permalink*
      July 6, 2009 4:53 pm

      I don’t think there really is such a thing as “birth punishment” without getting into types of genetic selection/age discrimination/skin color discrimination/gender discrimination, etc. , but if blame is to be assigned, I think the father should be a part of it. It takes 2 to make a baby, and it always takes a society to raise them, any of them. We live in society, work in society and all raise our children in society–there’s no getting away from it.

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