Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why does this prevention message seem so half-hearted?

Yes, yes, I've seen it -- Bristol Palin talking about preventing teen pregnancy on the Today Show, Good Morning America and every national network that covered the Candie Foundation Town Hall meeting in NYC.

It's definitely a relief to see a national conversation about our disproportionately high teen pregnancy rate, especially one that's focused on prevention. But why are we spending so much time talking about why teen pregnancy is bad and almost no time talking about how to not get pregnant? What kind of message are we sending to kids when we admonish them for making the 'wrong' decisions but then give them no tools to make the 'right' ones? Or when the only 'prevention' method you employ is to talk about how hard it is to be a teenage mother? Doesn't that assume teenagers become pregnant only because they want to?

PS - I love Emily Douglas' piece at RH Reality Check on how shame is an ineffective method of birth control. And check out Planned Parenthood's new web site that actually does feature practical information on how to prevent pregnancy!

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