There is obviously a stigma attached to being a pregnant teenager.
My question is, why?
What is it about teenagers that makes us so upset when they get pregnant?
Some people might say that it’s because having a baby ruins a woman’s life- her change to fulfill her potential in the future. But then why aren’t we upset at 24 year olds having babies? They still have most of their lives ahead of them too. Or what if the young mother wants nothing more than to be a stay at home mom? Not everyone is on a track which takes them to college and then a PhD.
Other people might look down on her for not using birth control. But this is just an assumption. Perhaps she was using birth control- maybe birth control and condoms!- but happened to be a part of the statistic that contraceptives fail. Or perhaps she was raped. Can you imagine how hurtful it would be to have everyone assume you had consensual unprotected sex, when you were actually raped?
Another idea is that people look down on young people for having sex in the first place. Perhaps they would look down upon every sexually active teenager, but only the pregnant girls are physically affected in a way that gives off their sexual status. Is this a position the prochoice community wants to be in? Looking down on people for choosing to have sex?
Perhaps you’re thinking “Well, kids shouldn’t be having sex!” Most people would agree with that. But what age does “kids” cover? 19 year olds? 16 year olds? 14 year olds? I don’t have an answer for that. I do have a personal belief about how young is “too young” for sex. But my personal belief isn’t going to stop kids from having sex. Kids who are told they can’t, or shouldn’t, have sex, will continue to have sex- they just wont speak up about it, wont get protection, wont get tested.
Which brings us full circle back to young, pregnant girls.
So why do we think teen pregnancy is a bad thing? And if it really is a bad thing, how can we show that while still treating pregnant teenagers with respect and dignity?