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Pregsplosion!

By Jesse Taylor
Friday, June 20, 2008 1:56 EDT
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It occurs to me upon reading this that the last movie I saw which mentioned condom use was Knocked Up. And they did it wrong.

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers.

The main reason for the increase?

All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. “We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal says, shaking his head.

How much of this is believable is arguable, but the popular culture argument marries nicely with this Townhall post, declaring that condoms can’t solve the pregnancy problem. It’s sort of like how food can’t solve the starvation problem.

Wait just a minute. How, exactly, would “easier access to birth control” have impacted this situation? These girls decided to get pregnant on purpose. It wasn’t that they couldn’t get birth control or didn’t know how to use it — as so many proponents of “comprehensive sex education” (i.e., the variety that has students putting condoms on bananas in class) would like us to believe.

From the sounds of the sex ed they got (which ended in ninth grade), it sounds a lot like the only input they got was that pregnancy was awesome (from the Time story):

The high school has done perhaps too good a job of embracing young mothers. Sex-ed classes end freshman year at Gloucester, where teen parents are encouraged to take their children to a free on-site day-care center. Strollers mingle seamlessly in school hallways among cheerleaders and junior ROTC. “We’re proud to help the mothers stay in school,” says Sue Todd, CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the day-care center.

But by May, after nurse practitioner Kim Daly had administered some 150 pregnancy tests at Gloucester High’s student clinic, she and the clinic’s medical director, Dr. Brian Orr, a local pediatrician, began to advocate prescribing contraceptives regardless of parental consent, a practice at about 15 public high schools in Massachusetts. Currently Gloucester teens must travel about 20 miles (30 km) to reach the nearest women’s health clinic; younger girls have to get a ride or take the train and walk. But the notion of a school handing out birth control pills has met with hostility. Says Mayor Carolyn Kirk: “Dr. Orr and Ms. Daly have no right to decide this for our children.” The pair resigned in protest on May 30.

There’s a reason that you get in your head that having a baby is going to be a great thing – because there’s nobody telling you anything else. I think the popular culture argument is likely crap, but thinking about it…what was the last movie or show you saw that featured a positive, realistic mention of birth control, safe sex, or just plain childlessness?

Either the couple has an unexpected pregnancy that brings them together after the guy realizes he’s actually ready to be a father, or (in the case of your “edgier” films) the couple is driven apart. A condom doesn’t work or isn’t used, or, if birth control is brought up, it’s often a deceptive technique used to avoid an otherwise desired pregnancy.

Where are the people, the films, the advocates in popular culture for more sexy, less baby?

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
 
 
 
 
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