City Journal Winter 2016

Current Issue:

Winter 2016
Table of Contents
Tablet Editions
Click to visit City Journal California

Readers’ Comments

Heather Mac Donald
To Speak of Woe That Is in Teen Pregnancy « Back to Story

View Comments (94)

Add New Comment:

To send your message, please enter the words you see in the distorted image below, in order and separated by a space, and click "Submit." If you cannot read the words below, please click here to receive a new challenge.

Comments will appear online. Please do not submit comments containing advertising or obscene language. Comments containing certain content, such as URLs, may not appear online until they have been reviewed by a moderator.

Showing 94 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
Hendrick Cuthbertson May 12, 2013 at 2:24 PM
Why the euphemism "illegitimacy"?
Why not call it by its real name, bastardy?
Shame only works if you have something that can be taken away.

These women don't have anything that can be taken away.

Thus, abortion.
You are so wrong, shaming people/communities will work and has worked in the past. That is why Planned Parenthood and liberals in general have worked so hard at eliminating the shame factor in our society and we see where it has brought us. Shame is a powerful human motivation and progressives know this only too well.
Congratulations to Commissioner Doar and Mayor Bloomberg for validating common sense. Now if we could get the public school system to go along with the program... Also thank you Heather for reminding us that the issue isn't just with teen single parents; things don't look much better for the illegitimate offspring of twenty-somethings. Incidentally, what's with this strange series of postings by YUMA? (I chuckled seeing one commenter suggesting that YUMA is a Turing Test program getting tried out...)
More and more blacks are recognizing racism among liberals. This is the second article I've seen in The Root on this topic. Of course, having children out of wedlock at any age, or, as many homosexual couples do ("married" or not), buying a baby, is equally problematic and liberals would have to face these problems if they agreed to shame teen mothers.
The polar ice caps were already melting when the population of the world was 1.5 billion and there weren't a constellation of electricity guzzling devices.

And before you knock me for being a tree hugger, you should realize that human civilization for the past 10,000 years or so had developed in a certain climate paradigm that had the polar ice caps in a particular equilibrium. Disrupt this equilibrium and assumptions that we have built human civilization around, like the North Atlantic Current, will not be around, and entire cities will no longer work.

So I would think that if you truly want human civilization to truly flourish, you should hope/wish/pray/work towards a world where the population could decline peacefully to under a billion. Ideally, to 100 million.
Well, yeah, great, you can sit up on your perch casting blame on liberals, or poor uneducated women, or modernity, or secular society, or you name it.

The blame game only gets you so far. We still have to live with these unwanted children, no matter who is to blame.

I am only proposing what works. With the legalization of abortion in the United States, crime decreased dramatically as unwanted babies were aborted and so did not grow up in the circumstances and cultures which statistically bring about the most criminal behavior.
A Mother of 2 Teenage Girls March 14, 2013 at 7:38 AM
HYSTERICAL!!! Do not shame these kids with facts. People are crying that "christians" are trying to "force their morality" down the throats of others... this is simply not so.. CONSERVATIVES are sick of funding your "freedoms". If you want to spread your legs as a young girl- DO IT!! However, DO NOT come to the taxpayer and ask them to fund the results of your decision. It isn't teen pregnancy that breeds poverty, but rather poverty breeds teenage pregnancy." WHAT A CROCK.. Lack of parental involvement breeds teen pregnancy. Lack of supervision breeds teen pregnancy. Lack of parenting breeds teen pregnancy. Lack of accountability breeds teen pregnancy. Parents need to get it through their heads- 1) You cannot be your child's "friend" you are their PARENT. 2) Being a parent is a thankless non-stop job which goes on 24 hours a day- you are not merely 'on call" you are ON THE CLOCK 24 hours a day. 3)Stop letting the government take over your responsibilities of a parent- the government doesn't care about YOUR child half as much as YOU care about your child- why would you allow your government to instill morality, ethics, etc. in your child rather than you doing such yourself?
Joe G.: Ah, yes. But that only makes it incumbent on conservatives like you and me to force them to face the fact of their self-delusion.

You see, liberalism is a weak faith despite its 20th Century triumphs in Western Europe and the US. The root of its weakness is its solipsism; the proof of its weakness is its narcissism: even liberalism's strongest adherents are unwilling to sacrifice themselves for it.
Vegan Taxidermist March 14, 2013 at 6:05 AM
umans became parents in their teens for most of human history.

The sociological problems which unwed teen mothers suffer, and their children, are also observed in adult unwed mothers.

In any case, with the coming demographic implosion we'll be experiencing around 2050, we'll be quite happy for any young people left on the planet, regardless of how old their mother was when they were born.

Children born of fertility treatments or to parents in their 40s have as many issues (learning disabilities, violence, likelihood to be imprisoned, etc.) as the kids of unwed teen moms that are so popular to demonise.
If you want a theistic economic system, I recommend the former Soviet state of Russia. The whole mechanism of capitalism is the promotion of competition, destruction and discord. Are you for free markets or not?

What you are trying to do here is impose your mystical theological moral mandate against a bedrock of the shifting social reality which you have also brought about by your economic policies. It is a fundamental contradiction.

And you call me nihilistic. At least I'm being consistent in taking it to the logical conclusion.
Gee officer Krupke, we're depraved 'cause we're deprived.
CB, like the people in Georgia you speak of, my parents thrived despite Mussolini, War and the barren land.

Edwin Arlington Robinson is a favorite poet of mine. I can't seem to forget Richard Cory.

In contradistinction, my parents blessed the bread never envying the meat. They're gone but they were true originals.

They persevered, they were grateful and died well pleased with their lives. Even when they acquired what they did so many years without, they blessed those years of struggle and growth and the celebrations between the two.

The Church helped make them, but they and their parents helped make the Church as well.
Olivia: Absolutely. The Father of Lies said "You shall most surely die" ...on the contrary, on the day you eat of the tree, "you will as gods".

The Christian Church has been in constant battle with nihilism. Nihilism is the lie that happiness (blessedness) comes from satisfying our appetites and obtaining what we desire. Eve "saw that the tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise".......but God said that eating the fruit of the tree would result in death. Eve believed the Lie that she had a choice; that the consequence God warned of would "surely" not occur.

Nihilism is the negation of Theism. Theism says life has purpose & meaning; Nihilism says life has no meaning or purpose. Theism says human beings are created in the image of God and thrive in right relationship with Him......Nihilism says there is no God.

Moderninity- the culture of nihilism, reveals in its fruitlessness the truth of God's command. Where ever Moderninity reigns or dominates a culture, folks stop having children, through their choices to contracept, abort, and engage in non- procreative sexuality. John Paul II called it he Culture of Death. Pope Pius VI predicted the demographic collapse of Europe if it rejected the Churches teaching on human sexuality and embraced the sexual revolution. In Russia nihilism holds sway the population pluments as they drink, abort, and live disillusioned lives of Georgia, where the Orthodox Church confronted nihilism, the people (populatio) thrive despite the physical challenges of life.

Where Moderninity is successfully confronted by the Church human beings continue to marry and procreate. Where nihilism reigns, the people live for themselves and the moment. St Paul said, If Christ did not rise from the dead, man might as well just eat, drink, and enjoy himself the best he can....

Oh I wouldn't bother arguing with Yuma. I think he/she is some sort of fleshy Turing test.
As for what is sacred...

Life is sacred, sure, but not human life to the exclusion of all other life. I have seen many humans in my lifetime, but not many giraffes or lions or tigers or elephants.

The more humans that exist, the fewer of those species that will exist, as humans move into their lands, hunt them down, burn down their homes. Who are you to say that human life is more important than the life of other species of this planet? Having an extra 1 billion people in poverty on this planet enriches my life by exactly nothing. Being able to enjoy the company of the symphony of species that God granted this Earth is the closest you can be to the divine.
Certainly childbearing is a difficult endeavor which requires sacrifice -- so why do you support policies which put children in the hands of their unready mothers? Let's say a woman goes out for an abortion but is stopped by some arbitrary regulation by some Republican legislator whose head is in some Biblical la-la land. How is forcing her to take a child that she does not desire good for her or the child?

We should hope for population decline. The Earth simply cannot support 7-8-9 billion people for a long period of time, if you value things like clean air, good food, or clean water. If you look at the rate at which oil is being burned, or water reservoirs are being emptied, or the temperature is rising, it should be obvious that to bring more people into this world who will consume limited fossil fuels and breathe limited air is profoundly irresponsible. After all, even if you drive a Prius and eat organic foods and etc etc etc, you still will consume tons of carbon every year. That's a simple fact.

As for worries about supporting entitlement states, well, I fully expect technology to enable people to continue to be productive into their old age. Someone 60 years old will have a hard time lifting a shovel, but he'll still be able to operate machinery.
CB, I think your post on Murray's recommendation of a guaranteed income summarizes the problem and solution nicely.

Lastly, the definition of nihilism that both startled and stuck with me is that of the Decembrist Chernyshevsky: IIRC, he said that it was the extirpation of the sacred.
"I am of the post-Gordon Gekko generation. Greed (or, the maximization of MY life) is good."

This is a classic statement of the nihilist. "it's all about me.". A life of service to the "self". Of course this statement is a an excellent summary of moderninity. It is opposite of the Judeo-Christian view that it is all about God and we are called to serve the other through lives of sel- sacrifice characterized by humility. Europe has gone over to nihilism and embraces Moderninity. Parenting is inherently a sacrificial endeavor and nihilist personalities are wise to avoid it, because as any mother can testify, it's all about the child. The person of faith insists that happiness is the by product of a life spent serving others; while the nihilist would say that is the propaganda the sheep (weak) use to discourage the wolves (strong). The two views are being played out in the world..

Yuma, I beg to differ. "eliminating the child" ( children) is the last thing we want to do.

The industrialized world is experiencing demographic collapse which is far advanced in Russia, Japan, China, and much of Europe. Their populations ate rapidly aging with very large cohorts of old folks and very snall and declining cohorts of young folks. There are not enough workers being born to support the preceeding generations in their old age. (that is the nub of the U.S. SS & Medicare Crisis) We need to encourage responsible child bearing to stabilize our populations. People are the most valuable asset of any nation or culture. Rapid, catastrophic demographic collapse such as we are seeing in Europe, etc are getting to the point that hey may not be reversablle. Contrary to popular belief resulting from the nonsense spouted by Erlicman (Population Bomb) and others, the world is not facing a grim future of over population but rather one of population collapse.
Plenty of people didn't get their choice on going to war with Iraq. Get in line.

Actually, the trap laws, waiting periods, and various other legislative restrictions that conservative lawmakers impose on abortion make it very difficult and expensive for the poor to obtain them.

People still jump through the hoops to get their abortions, but certainly many get tangled up along the way.

These tangles need to be removed.

Abortion is killing something, sure. So is eating a burger. I'd like to see the same consistency towards a hypothetical (and even if true, an insignificant) human life applied towards all life.

So go vegan or shutup.
We're toast! The big picture here is an issue of culture and lost young people. Hollywood and the rap music scene have come to glorify pregnancy without the "benefit of marriage" as the phrase went. That said, the ads probably do offend those already in the situation, but if one young man and woman change their behaviour because of it, then that is one less single mom and child taxing the resources of the advocate ... so why the heck wouldn't they advocate that?
And lowering the cost of abortion will only make it more of a casual thing than it already is. Abortion is never a good thing, rather a necesary evil. You're not getting your appendix out, you're killing something. Ya can't deny that truth. And why does Pro-Choice mean you can only "choose" to support unlimited, unregulated and paid-for-by-somebody-else abortion? Can't I choose NOT to like it?

Well, Yuma, what if people don't want to have abortions or commit infanticide, as is apparently the case??

The answer: construct policy in a way that strongly encourages healthy conduct by not subsidizing unhealthy conduct and which enlists family and peer pressure into motivating individual decision making.
Charles Murray, the sociologist whose book led to welfare reform in the Clinton Adminstration, has proposed a realistic plan which would eliminate welfare, SS, SSI, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, etc......
It includes every citizen, is easily administered, and would be no more expensive than our existing chaotic over lapping and dis incentivizing un- safety net. What it would do is promote marriage, child rearing within marriage (universally recognized as the best bet for children),, and provide every adult with an economic base upon which to build a better life if he/ she so chooses; and if not to learn how to exist - by trial & error- with the barest essentials. Having a child would not give anyone a claim for public assistance. If one as a child and does not provide proper care, the child would be removed. Every U.S. citizen 21 years or older would receive a monthly stipend from the government (gradually diminished to 50% of base starting at earned income over $50K) A portion must be used to pay for a basic health policy (or toward a premium policy) & a portion paid into citizens retirement account accessible at age 65. Balance available to him/ her for personal support. When Murray wrote his Plan, he estimated that value to @ citizen 21 or older would be approximately $10-11k. A young couple starting out would have a combined base income before any earned income of $14k plus basic health coverage $4k & retirement savings $2k. If they obtained minimum wage entry level jobs, they would enjoy a combined family disposable income of $38-42k.
Nothing to offer? What a joke!

I have no idea what disservable skoots is. My spellcheck doesn't either.

I have plenty to offer to them. Join the military. Work at McDonalds and move up to management. Go to community college and get a degree in something that will lead to a job. Work at a local business. Move to a new town and start over.

Having a child interrupts all of that. Having a child deprives young people of the capital needed to improve their life circumstances. It traps them in their old neighborhoods and it perpetuates a cycle of poverty.

Eliminate the child and the deprivation is gone. The cycle is interrupted. Everyone wins.
Up until the 60's, prior to the pill, easy legal abortion, & widely available contraception, the very real threat of being shipped out of town to aunt Mary's for the duration of the pregnancy (translate: separation from friends); the less real, but generally believed, "shotgun wedding" scenario (translate: forced to marry & support someone he is merely in- lust with); plus the real shame/embarassment connected with public knowledge of one's engaging in fornication -- three strong deterrents that worked reasonably well for generations-- all have disappeared with the sexual revolution, government payment for unmarried child bearing, the refusal to hold unmarried father's accountable, the decline of religosity, and celebration and popularization of fornication by entertainment & political elites.
"Shame" is a much diminished deterrent; consequences for ones bad choices much attenuated; and those who assign responsibility to the only persons who can make a difference are called judgmental, cruel, bigots, etc.
You have nothing to offer the unwed mother except adding a bit more nihilism to that load she's carrying with both hands.

You can't help her with values because your values are not disservable (sp? word?)from skoots and/or your main concern for making sure your definition of suffering prevails all the while asserting that exempting people from it is proof positive of sanity and goodness.

It won't work.

Heather wrote a piece on the good work accomplished by the Welfare Reform Act of '94. That good work was accomplished by providing people with options that accept current circumstances, while also understanding that the ensnared (who not wanting to kick, I equally don't seek to eliminate) have hopes for a better, self-reliant life too.

I'll pass on that, thanks. I am of the post-Gordon Gekko generation. Greed (or, the maximization of MY life) is good.
An abortion costs what, $300? If we got Walmart in the game we could probably reduce it to like $60.

Yes, the teenage mother might make a stupid decision and choose air jordans over an abortion. That's why we need to make it cheaper and more available. After all, it is the taxpayer who is on the hook for the cost of police, jails, disrupted classrooms, vandalized stores, assaulted pedestrians, declining property values, and so on that statistically is far more likely with a teenaged birth.

You want low taxes and limited government? Well, this method will go a long way towards making the Leviathan unnecessary.
Excellent analysis. If we are to even begin to address the scourges associated with teen pregnancy--including abortion--we must let teens know that we expect more from them, and stop making excuses for them engaging self-destructive behavior.
A life of poverty, real poverty, is a hard life to find in the US. That's why a lot of illegitimate children are dressed well-enough, not skin and bones, and think and dream of something better.

It's what a pregnant woman wants that's at issue here, and unless you're advocating forced abortions, your plan of free abortions, promoted by the State, as "a snip of pain" sure to make a woman and her child happy that he or she wasn't born is unlikely to move the fecund dreamer.

Your comment at 10:54 AM easily applies to those at the other end of the age spectrum.

Hopefully you'll do the selfless thing and jump off a bridge when your age related illnesses becomes too great a burden for the rest of us.
"Conservatives get it wrong on fathers. Most are pushed away by the mothers to enhance welfare payments. These fathers don't "just" leave, most are pushed."

They'd actually get alot more support than they think from the minority communities regarding those males experience with being A) abandoned by these women and also B) their experience with the biased Family Court which supports these women across all class levels.

Really wish the Conservatives would get a clue.
Wonderfully written, Ann Coulter and others have been making this point for years.
But don't dare point out reality or facts to liberals, it scares them. They like their unicorn fart prince too much.
Look, an abortion might be unpleasant, but the alternative is often a life of poverty and suffering, for both the child and the mother. An abortion is at worst a momentary snip of pain, for someone who is barely conscious enough to understand anything. Human cultures have practiced infanticide for many centuries on the understanding that it is simply a necessary practice to maintain a standard of living.

Our duty in this society is to minimize suffering. Not maximize life. And adoption really is not a viable alternative. There aren't enough foster parents on this planet to take them all in. Abortion is the only way.
Conservatives get it wrong on fathers. Most are pushed away by the mothers to enhance welfare payments. These fathers don't "just" leave, most are pushed.
A cost-free and readily available morning after pill might get a few women to reconsider but it's doubtful.

Undergoing a vacuum aspiration, legs spread, doctor's arm to elbow inserted in vagina, well that's another matter entirely, free or not, promoted by the State or not.

As paradoxical as it may seem many of these women (girls?) affirm bourgeois values. They think it's better to be married than unmarried. When they're kipping down w/Tom, Dick or Harry, they're imagining a marriage and a home sometime, somewhere. They do think abortion is the destruction of the life they're carrying. It may not figure, but from my observation and experience that's the way it is.
"Our Constitution was written for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the governing of any other.":John Adams

Once again the founders wisdom is demonstrated.
It isn't just government that has destroyed the family. A consumption mindset that never knows satiety. A culture or mindset with a taste for obsolescence and waste. George Will easily admits the power of capitalism to destroy family and community. It's the flip-side of the apparatchiks willing to sell out their parents for a private bath.

How is government solely responsible for the need for two incomes? How is government solely responsible for the out-of-pocket cost of maintaining your own health care plan? How is the government solely responsible for women readily handing their babies over to day-care providers? For beginning their due diligence before the baby is even born?

Conservatives will continue to lose because they can't imagine capitalism (crony or not, as it has almost always been) as amoral.

If they were honest brokers they would at least preach Schumpeter with verve, proclaiming all the while that true creative destruction has been unseen, to date.

But the man in Ohio who works a couple of jobs, takes no aid from anyone, pays his bills as best as he can, is a forsaken man.
In our local high school the powers that be cancelled "Shop class" and replaced it with "How to Care for your Baby in High School".

Is it any wonder that the country is in decline culturally?

The whole thing about them having "bling" is a canard. I happen to have seen these teenagers first-hand while living in Philadelphia.

They do not have the latest electronics.

They get free cell phones, and wear cheap, bright clothes.

That is my honest to goodness observation.

But even if true, a pair of air jordans is like what, $120? $150? In the big scheme of things, not that much.

But enough about kicking the poor. The state should be offering free abortions by the logic of this piece. I'd even say that the state ought to promote abortion to the general public.
Why doesn't Bloomberg do a campaign that encourages adoption especially since Russia has banned Americans from adopting Russian kids?
R. L. Hails Sr. P. E. March 13, 2013 at 9:16 AM
In the article, and comments, I look for the dog that does not bark. The truth roars, the government has destroyed our family structure. And. The woe of teen pregnancy is at the heart of our gun control debate.

Read the lengthy link (cited by theBuckWheat).

The male population, from age 15 -25, in the inner city, which grew up without a father and who is engaged in the drug trade, is the source of some half of our murders (admittedly a soft ball park number). This is a very tiny portion of our population, but a massive load on our criminal prosecution and penal system. If this, and our dysfunctional mental health system was fixed, our nation would not suffer from an abnormally high murder rate. The current fury about magazine size, or ugly weapon is pure nonsense, worthless and harmful demagoguery. But there are powerful political forces, e.g. Mayor Bloomberg, who do not wish this social problem to be identified, or solved. It was recently reported that 80% of the New York city high school graduates can not read or write, at grade level. That is directly related to teen pregnancy, teen murder and is largely his fault; he is the boss.

In a democracy, if the majority of the people vote for a devil, they should expect to live in Hades. That is woe.
The problem is that pro abortion Bloomberg does not mention adoption as an option. In fact, he blathers on about birth control, the morning after pill, blah blah blah without mentioning abstinence or good relationships. He strongly implies that the babies are at fault, and not their parents.
Though I would have argued the opposite a couple of decades past, valuing sexuality beyond the will to power of expressing it, is a fundamental value to which many seemingly unrelated values are attached.

Or maybe I understand it in reverse: to value your body, your person, your virginty, is to value a time for every season.

I don't want to change the majority point of view. A people have the right to develop a new morality.

I think the Constitution values continence, but it can't compel it. And while it's the Law of the land, the burden of constant interpretation makes it almost wholly spirit.

I don't want to return to a previous era or decade but I do want to retreat into the company of people I understand and who share my values.
If I may, eliminate all welfare programs and garner the wages of the "sperm donor." For those women (or teenagers), and probably a very few number at that, who look toward a child as a meal ticket they may become a little more selective of the donor (father). This may give that geeky little kid in the library a little more "action" in High School than the football captain who is still reading at the 6th grade level. But who ever said life was fair(?).
Think about this for a moment: If we cut teen pregnancies in half. How many middle class jobs would we eleminate? Less teenage mothers mean less social workers, less nurses, less police officers. It would mean more teachers because these girls would stay in school (hopefully)
Subsidized abortion will have no effect on those who actually want children. As pointed out in the article, said teenagers can afford smartphones and high-end sneakers. They can afford their own abortions.
I wonder if the Manhattan Institute would also favor state funding for abortion. I certainly would, but I don't think your conservative backers would.
For so many on the Left, tradition is pathology, and as Aron wrote, what follows tradtion, what kills this tenacious strain, is the beginning of history, the accomplishment(s) of the Left.

They cannont admit error because they are the beginning and the end.

Fire-fighter Ricci, a dyslexic, who refused to have his civil service score stolen from him by taking his case to the SC, is a fine example of the will to succeed. I don't know if he's the child of disordered parenting, but I'd wager a tidy sum that he's not.
This is a great ad campaign and should be expanded across the country. Poverty programs simply have not worked. And the idea that poverty causes teen pregnancy instead of the other way around, is ludicrous.

Too bad Bloomberg's such a schmuck. It causes me to detest him even when he happens to be right, as in this lamentably rare instance.
Of course the left is appalled - to accept the possibility that some cultural problems are self-inflicted would undermine their platform that there is a technocratic solution to every societal ill, since they are all imposed by an external source that could be eliminated by more social programming. Also, it would be telling a huge proportion of the Democratic base to look in the mirror, and they can't have that.
Se education teaches biology and contraception. It does not teach CONTEXT – i.e. when it is appropriate to bring children into the world and when it is not. Perhaps it’s time to refresh the course material. Too many members of society have forgotten the wisdom of thousands of years.

As an anecdotal aside, I have a relative who spent over 20 years as a corrections officer in the NYC prison system. He observed that most of the inmates were born out of wedlock. Sadly, their family origins led to many jokes among the prison staff. The taxpayer would not find it so amusing.
Not so long ago it was something of a social stigma to have a child out of wedlock. There is something to be said for discouraging behavior that is detrimental and having a child with no husband and no support system is detrimental to mother and child.

Why don't we have smokers' rights? It's a bad behavior, but it's not their fault anymore than getting pregnant out of wedlock and since it causes the person extra expense, why don't we give them benefits for each pack they smoke? It makes as much sense.
" simplest way to avoid poverty: graduate from high school, get a job, and wait until marriage before having a child."

Should be posted in each and every classroom, from pre-school to Universities.
Reading these comments recalls the Red Edge presentation. Here's how a focus group in Ohio differentiates Dems from GOPers:


“Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”


“Young people.” “Liberal.” “Diverse.” “Bill Clinton.” “Change.” “Open-Minded.” “Spending.” “Handouts.” “Green.” “More science-based.”

Or maybe you think I invented that ????? You think that bad mouthing girls who can't find a stable employed mate can be solved by more bad mouthing the girls ?

The problem here is the boys and the best solution to get them employable is to go hard at the transient dyslexia that presents with the teen years. Read my comment about Pat Carpenter, below. Blacks and poor Whites get hammered.

It does involve science. None of it is in the bible. Don't choke on it.
Michelle Obama would have done a much greater service for our country, had she taken up teen pregnancy as her cause celebre, rather than childhood obesity. She has been on every daytime and late-night talk show there is. She has had the perfect platform to get this message out. What far-reaching impact she could have had, and what potential to change the course of so many young lives if only she had the courage to tackle this issue. But, I suppose that would not have been politically expedient for the liberal agenda.
I used to volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I found out that some of the stereotypes portrayed of unwed mothers are wrong.
First, the average umwed mother is not a teenager. She is 19-23 years old.
Most of them were raised in a middle class or working class family. They either have health insurance through their parents or they are employed and have it through their employer.
Most the pregnancies are planned. About 60% of the young women who came in for a free pregnancy test were not pregnant. That is actually sad news for a significant percentage of them.
One of the protocols is to ask the young woman who they would rely on to help them to raise a child. Rarely did they mention the father. In many cases, they literally are sperm donors. I heard so many times "I will be raising this baby on my own." It is "her baby". The young woman never thought that the father would be around. In fact, she doesn't want him around. If you press her further about what resources she has, she will tell you that her girlfriends will be there for her and the baby, not Dad. It is hard to make her realize that her 20 year old girlfriends are not going to be interested in helping her with that baby if they are the typical single women, interesting in exploring and experiencing the world around her.
What is the answer? Encourage earlier marriage. We have denegrated marrage so much and made it so easy to not marry that young people just don't do it. They are "too young" to get married, but not too young to have a couple of kids. I think that for women, there is some biological justification for having children in your early 20's. It is when that maternal instinct starts rearing its head, which is how we are biologically programmed, especially for average women who did not attend college and really have nothing going for them as far as a career.
Second, we need to insist that our churches encourage earlier marriage. I know that it is politically incorrect for them to be "so judgemental", but we need to get the out of wedlock births under control for the sake of the younger generation and their children.
Heather, teenage pregnancy in itself is not a problem. In fact, better to have them at 18-22 when the female body is primed, than trying to have one designer baby at 39 (with all kinds of medical assistance, of course).

There's a strong conservative case for earlier childbirth, accompanied by younger marriage.
I'm with Bloomberg 100% on this.

Any unwed mother, whether teen or older, should be ashamed.

When you consider the consequences of teen pregnancy and unwed mothers, it should be considered a crime.
Morales: "‘Hurting and shaming communities is not what’s going to bring teen pregnancy rates down,’ she added.”

Umm. What "communities" is she talking about? The Teen Female Community? The Hot To Trot Community? The Roundheels Community?

Inquiring minds want to know.

If, as I suspect, she is talking about the Puerto Rican or Mexican community I would agree. Just levy a Bastardy Tax on their "community", without comment or moralizing, and reduce their various benefits until they are paying completely for their own.

If their community would rather self-support, live without benefits and make bastards, then that's fine, too. Far be it from me to impose my cultural values on alien peoples and cultures.

On the other hand, if the "community" would rather pay their own way, and have money left over for college, businesses, vacations and the other things that Americans enjoy, the community can "stigmatize" bastardy or do whatever else it chooses to become self supporting.

Sadly, the way it works now is that they know white folks will pay whatever it takes to take care of them, feed them, clothe them and medicate them. There is absolutely no incentive to change.

What so many liberals just don't understand is that for those who come from tiny villages where they eat beans and rice and hoe a few pathetic acres of land in the hot sun, living and having babies on welfare in America is pure heaven.

I appreciate your concerns about dyslexia. But even a dyslexic can usually grasp English when spoken to ----- no relations before marriage. If you are completely unable to control your impulses, use protection --

No matter what she says . . . dyslexia is mechanical brain misarrangement --

not a license to be irresponsible.
The first teenage pregnancy with no support from the sperm donor can be written off as due to ignorance. Ignorance of reproduction, of availability of contraception mechanisms, of abortion availability, of an almost guaranteed doomed future for the kid, etc. A second pregnancy with no support could be due to bad luck. After two, there should be mandatory reversible, chemical sterilization until a male starts supporting the children. Better for society, for the kids, for the mother.

now there's a fight I can support. The realities of teenage pregnancy.

Of course pregnancy at such an early age stigmatizes them and they should know that it does.

Bravo Mayor, ---- finally.
First off, the initial objection from Planned Parenthood was that these ads look like they are ads for abortion.

Second, at what point do we address the transient dyslexia that presents disproportionately with adolescent Black males ?

Back 20 years ago we had an automated system for diagnosing this dyslexia. A brilliant female researcher at Carnegie-Mellon built a machine that analyzed horizontal saccade performance, the line-return position accuracy, and other eye movements that are essential to automatic reading.

Her name is Pat Carpenter. Her machine uses low-energy IR, a text presentation page, and a sensor array to capture eye movement patterns -- genius level work.

She solved this core problem and the world ran away at a sprint.

She's still there and the research system has her working on everything except fixing the single worst race-correlated problem you're going to find in contemporary America. (Whites and Hispanics get this adolescence/high-testosterone effect in smaller numbers. It's Blacks who get swamped.)

Want to see Blacks raise their effective IQs by 10 to 20 points ??? Get back to applying this female invention, diagnose all the kids with school problems, then trust reading to make all the difference. (And cut offenses/incarcerations by about a half. Inmates are functional illiterates, more than not, and there are very very few jobs on the outside for illiterates.)

Or does anybody give a xxxx about these kids ?

what i mean by YOUR are the liberals, especially rich and famous---and hypocritical---liberals who 4ever support OTHER teens who are knocked up, and especially, who do porn.


just like legal age teens in porn...losers!

Though, it's ok by me if YOUR teen daughter gets knocked up---and does knocked up legal age teen porn....cause that's hot!
Cuomo? Backbone? Hysterical. Kudos to Mayor Mike on this one.
The great irony is that an organization named "Planned Parenthood" is vehemently opposed to an ad campaign advocating precisely the topics of planning and parenthood. I guess "Taxpayer Supported Advocates for the Stigmatized Victims of Gender Stereotypes," although more accurate, is a bit wordy.

Your life experience should make you a raging "personal-responsibility" Conservative. You have disproved every single liberal trope about how helpless we all are in making the right choices in the face of poverty.

It's not poverty that causes bad choices - it's the uneducated, emotionally-stunted single parents who don't take the time to educate their children that contribute to these bad choices. Now that the city is trying to fill that parenting void, these "social-workers" are trying to nullify them. Unbelievable
My wife and I are both professionals with a comfortable salary. And yet we still feel financially burdened from our newborn and physical exhaustion. My on-the-job performance suffers from lack of sleep and just pure desire to be with the child.

To expect a single mother on welfare to successfully raise a child (sometimes more than one), is absolutely ridiculous. These so-called "social-service workers" should be ashamed of themselves for trying to minimize the enormous resources and work required for raising a child successfully.
The critics of Bloomberg demonstrate the triumph of ideology over reality. My best source about the problems of teen pregnancy is my wife, who worked as a social worker for several years in a welfare-to-work program near Minneapolis whose goal was to help young, unmarried mothers become self-sufficient.

For all those mothers, life was a constant struggle: living on public assistance; being overwhelmed by the burdens of raising children alone; being much less appealing as romantic partners to worthwhile men, who weren't yet ready to be fathers; having little time to relax, between child care, school, and maybe low-paid work. Single motherhood may be "liberating" for wealthy celebrities, but for regular women it's almost always a daunting challenge.

Explicit sex education and access to contraception is universal in ultraliberal NYC, and I support such education and access everywhere. So many girls STILL get pregnant, even when free birth control is provided by in-school clinics, as it is at my neighborhood public high school. These young people are well-informed, and are choosing of their own free will to be sexually active and not use birth control.

This is a great article, and a brave one, I think.

Regarding the debate over causality -- does poverty cause teen pregnancy (or other self-destructive behavior) or does self-destructive behavior cause poverty -- I really think the answer is that it's a little of both. Either way, I think it's worthwhile trying to discourage self-destructive behavior, because even if only 10% of poverty is under behavioral control, isn't it worthwhile to eliminate that 10%?

I grew up in a troubled family and went to violent public schools and then to prestigious ivy league universities, and so I have seen both worlds, at least to some extent. My high school best friends all became teen parents, although I didn't. All my college friends got married in their 20s and 30s and then had kids.

The thing about it is, the upper-middle class kids get these consistent messages, "Get married! Don't have babies as a teen!" but the less privilidged get these messages less often. In addition, the more priviliged people get role models for relationships, child raising, etc., while we less privilidged don't necessarily even know they are missing this information.

You don't know what you don't know. And, if certaininformation is politically incorrect, or offends the wrong influential people, you might never know.

A lot of the people who really object to "stigmitizing" self-destructive behavior would stigmatize the heck out of it if it was their own children at risk. However, they generally don't have to "get their hands dirty" with that much stigmatizing, because they live in safe, rich neihgborhoods and control their children's environment so that the kids are much less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors. So, the parents get to feel good about their open-mindedness, while not really having to worry about consequences in their own family.

People with less money aren't sheltered from the messages of the street like this, and they are less likely to have good role models. They are definitely at risk, and just playing "open-minded compassionate " person isn't helpful. I haven't seen Bloomberg's ad campaigns, but it sounds like he's trying to get the word out. Is he doing this in an effective way? I don't know, but I am glad he's making some effort.
Always batting 1000!
Right on point - PP likes teen pregancy since it leads to mmore need for Planned Parenthood = more money. Democrats like it because those teens become instantly dependent on government, falling into the maw of the Democratic poverty machine, a self perpetuating cultural mechanism that is at work in our cities. Those in this culture start off as being born to single mothers, with the father out of the picture. These chidlren are more likely to create more like themselves, have more difficulties getting an education (leading to the need per the culture of poverty for more money for education, even though money won't solve the problem), more crime, substance abuse leading to the need for more people in the poverty industry. At the beginning of it all is Planned Parenthood, the quasi-governmental institution that makes it easy for single mothers.

Not much has been written abuot this culture of poverty and misery perpetuation, but it is now deeply embedded and part and parcel of the new society within a society created by the Democrats. What's described in this article is only one aspect, and the shrillness of the response is typical of what happens when someone dares to criticize or even comment on it.
"... The punchline, I mean the issue for me, is that among young black men who dropped out of high school, it's over 1/3--my estimate suggests 37% are incarcerated on any given day. So that's more than a third. ..."

Interview of Becky Pettit by Russ Roberts on Econtalk:

Pettit on the Prison Population, Survey Data and African-American Progress

Longdrycreek Ranch - Texas Panhandle March 12, 2013 at 5:39 AM
We are immersed in a senate culture, a culture that has its focus on the senses. Food, taste, smell, feel, hear, and we push sex.

Planned Parenthood anywhere is a sex solution place: condoms, pills, abortion. One call does all. Also PP makes money, federal or state, or contributions in kind. No wonder they react agains the ad campaign. Might dry up the abortion supply, and the money.

In effect, the culture does not support saying "No" to sex before marriage or no to eating too much, etc.

The lack of discipline defines decline, and we are gathering speed downhill.
It used to be common to reserve the term "bastard" for a person born to unmarried parents. The term came to mean the temperament and criminal tendencies of such people. The stereotype was rooted in social experience. Now in some demographic categories, over 70% of children are born to women who are not married to the baby's father. Making random conception popular does not nullify the effect on the fatherless child.

Indeed, there is a very strong correlation between the likelihood of spending time in prison and not having a father figure in the home. Bastards remain bastards, even as we have made it socially impolite to call these timeless correlations to anyone's attention.

We can teach children the mechanics of sexual biology, but until we have the moral courage to put that in a framework of the utterly serious responsibility that conception of a human life implies, we will continue to have demographic groups that churn out enormous numbers of bastards, one third of which will end up in prison.

Too bad Bloomberg didn't start and stop with these kinds of messages. He should have let the table salt and large beverages alone.
From the campaign: “Other stressed-out toddlers warn of the financial burdens their unwed mothers will face and the near certainty that their fathers won’t stick around.”

Again, institutional feminists relegate fathers to a wallet. No mention in the campaign of children’s need and life-long benefits from fathers. Of course, the ‘fathers won’t stick around’ - the children’s mothers offer promiscuous sex to many boys, the biological fathers of her children likely only ‘street-names’ to her.

Congratulations to Ms. Mac Donald for, “The bigger issue for society is single parenting generally ... higher family rates of criminal activity, welfare dependency, and educational failure—are no less present when older single mothers have children.”

Feminist jurisprudence remains founded on anti-family, no-fault divorce. Any mother can eject and alienate her children’s father, for any or no reason or because, ‘her needs are unfulfilled’. Her girlfriends urge her to, ‘dump the jerk’. She can feel near-certain that her irresponsibility will be endorsed by a judge, with the family home, furniture, car, his income indefinitely and her residential custody of children. Bring back 'fault' to divorce adjudication.

Those children wonder at night, why their daddy doesn’t love them. Bereft of his children’s love, that daddy is multiply likely to collapse into depression or commit suicide.

Children need the lifelong care of their parents in a loving family.

What is reallyt amazing is that progressives use shame all the time to try to change our behavior. They are constantly trying to shame us into giving more to the poor, pay more taxes, use less resources ("climate change"), support environmentalism, support communitarianism, etc. But when someone proposes to use shame to change the behavior of people who everyone really agrees is behaving in a destructive way, TOWARDS CHILDREN, NO LESS, they demure, and say that it is not nice.

Ahhh... progressivism. Do what we say, not what we do.
Bloomberg should get another four years. He tells it like it is. If people don't like their toes being stepped on get steel-toed shoes.
I'm quite sure that the Mayor would be content to see a huge spike in abortions eliminating the problem of teen pregnancy. I'm surprised Planned Parenthood didn't get on board with this implicit endorsement. Another factor, though, in teen pregnancy that makes it immune to shame is that it is part of a culture: in some parts of society, it is validation, proof of status. How do you change that?
How sensible, but who's listening? Young girls are like bulling heifers, they can't wait to get in-calf, they would sooner have the instant pleasure, not knowing the reason for the must have intercourse, or don't want to know. They deserve what they get and the country deserves the bill of expenses for encouraging this behavior by providing the safety net and no worry's welfare.
Freesmith: You are correct that Liberals don't believe a thing they say. The problem is that they don't realize that they don't believe a thing they say. That would require introspective and rational thought.
My concern upon seeing the ads was that they would encourage abortion so as not to face the consequences of the pregnancy.
Carrots don't begin to work better than sticks. Earlier generations had rock-bottom bastardy rates because they were shamed and frightened of the consequences. Shunning, tough though it is, works better than anything else.

Not saying we should go back to "The Scarlet Letter" days, but a healthy dose of embarrassment and fear would work wonders. God knows all this "tolerance" and "understanding" and "sex education" are making things catastrophically Worse.

Also, it's amazing to see Anything addressed to the worthless boys and "men" who are carelessly knocking up compliant, foolish females and then abandoning them. It's been a few decades since males were addressed in any of these public campaigns having to do with the results of promiscuity.
"Words! Words! Words! I'm so sick of words," rants Eliza Doolittle. And she's right! After awhile, words - whether they are expressed 'sympathetically' or whether they ignite the familiar identity issues associated with poverty - don't mean a thing, given the rancorous nature of this debate.

What might it be like if we could go beyond blame and actually provide an incentive to those teenage girls from less privileged backgrounds who avoid pregnancy. How about giving them $1,000 per year as credit towards college tuition beginning at age 11 for each year they avoid having babies? Both sides, progressive and conservative, would need to give up something dear to make this happen. But carrots work better than sticks, and we can easily assume that the economic and social benefits of the resultant lower crime rates and fewer jailbirds would greatly outweigh the debilitating effects of doing nothing but lie on our backs and adjust our remotes, or worse.
The stigma against stigma? Ms MacDonald, have you ever seen how liberals treat smokers?

Please do not be fooled. Liberals do not believe a thing they say. Not a word. All liberals care about is telling others what to do about things liberals think are important, and leading comfortable yet interesting lives.

That's it.
Let's see now... Among all the stereotypes bouncing around, another one comes to mind, the one about, "Go ahead and make contraceptives and abortion easily available, because... they are going to do it anyway." I guess that's not stigmatizing kids, it's just facing the facts. Hhhmmmm.
W. John Henderson March 11, 2013 at 5:32 PM
Excellent article. Hopefully more programs such as the one in New York will be started across the nation.
Long overdue. I tell and continue to tell any teen the stats on single parenting. Most do not even know
not to date a guy without steady employment. Bloomberg deserves a medal.
Author Jack Cashill - What is the Matter With California? - said CA has no prayer of balancing a budget till single parenthood is way reduced. They are a jobs program for social workers, lawyers, P.O.s, special ed teachers. Correction officers etc.
The data is in, and has been, for decades. Children raised by single parents struggle in every way one can struggle in modern life. The push back is outrageous - "don't make people feel bad about behaving badly". Why on earth not?