There is a new ad campaign by NYC Human Resources Administration Dept. of Social Services. On the ads are beautiful toddler faces with words that say, “I am twice as likely to NOT graduate High School because you had me as a teen.” Another one says, “Got a good job? I cost thousands of dollars each year.” It’s a campaign that is trying to prevent teen pregnancy but as you look at the pictures and read the statements, you can’t help but detect an underlining message promoting abortion. As soon as I viewed the ads I had the words of President Obama ringing in my years, “I don’t want them punished with a baby.” A remark he made in his 2008 campaign speech defending his pro-choice stance and his position if his own daughters found themselves pregnant at an early age.
It is ironic to me that the makers of the ads looked for the most precious faces of children and young lives to try and prevent the making of life. When did it become politically correct to depict children as punishment? Merriam-Webster defines punishment as: a suffering, pain, or loss that serves as retribution. Has this country gone so far as to devalue life by calling children a retribution for wrongs? I liken it to the anti-smoking ads that depict a blackened lung to show the negative effects of smoking. Should children be portrayed as the cancer of teen pregnancy?
This ad campaign launched by the City of New York and Mayor Bloomberg is another effort to try and decrease the high rate of teen pregnancies in NYC. Last year, Bloomberg and the New York City Public Schools made sex education mandatory from 6th grade and up. Free contraception, mandatory sex education and now a new ad campaign seem to be the city’s pro-active way of dealing with their high teen pregnancy rate. According to Bloomberg, “We’ve already seen important progress in our effort to help more teens delay pregnancy- teen pregnancy has steadily declined in New York City- but there is more work still to be done.”
While there has been a 27% decrease in teen pregnancy in the last decade in New York City, recent research by the Chiaroscuro Foundation has the City of New York leading in the number of abortions and it still holds the title as the abortion capital of the country. In the survey, 16 % of all pregnancies in New York City had 14% of them with abortions from teen mothers. Is the city really decreasing the number of teen pregnancies or are they eliminating the product of pregnancy through abortion?
These ads are promoted from the same mayor who believes the Big Gulp is one of the products contributing to the growing obesity problem in his city as well. There seems to be the belief system that banning and eliminating the product will reduce the health risk. However, real prevention education is confronting the source of the problem. These ads only address the possible negative effects of having a child at an early age. They don’t get to the source of why so many teens in New York City are choosing to have unprotected sex or choosing to become sexually active at such an early age. The goal of the campaign ad might be to deter teens from becoming pregnant but the subtle message is that a child (life) is an unwanted byproduct of teen pregnancy. What is the real truth in advertising in these ads? Read the posters and you decide. Is the campaign promoting teen responsibility and accountability or are they sending the message that our children are “The Big Gulps” of society?