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03:10 PM on 10/10/2008
But-but-but...it's a Beautiful Choice!
03:01 PM on 10/10/2008
Follow me here. Rates of orgasm for women increase as women age, averaging 29% (women who always have orgams with their partners, compared with 75% of men according to Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, Michaels, 1994). Rates of orgasm for women under 25 is quite a bit lower, and the rate for women under 25 who always achieve orgasm is lower still. At the same time, condom failure rates can be as high as 18% for girls under 18 (Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives).

Young women and girls are still practicing magical thinking, "giving it up" without regard for pregnancy and disease or even whether they'll actually get off on it, while--let's be honest here--for a teenaged boy, an orgasm is pretty much a sure thing.

I think if we had more frank conversations about birth control and sexual function, as well as self-esteem, our daughters, cousins, sisters and friends would demand more out of sex than just "a sense of closeness" which, may times can be translated as: "keeping him from dumping me."
03:01 PM on 10/10/2008
I had a similar reaction to "Juno" (good story but nothing like real life). But I am concerned when anyone complains that teen moms are acceptable. Teen moms are acceptable. Teens have sex (always have, always will). I'm all for education and birth control (and when possible, encouraging teens to delay sexual activity until maturity) to reduce teen pregnancies as much as possible. But when we talk about teen pregnancy being unacceptable, we're talking about judging -- in this case, judging people who already have a problem to deal with. Can't we just encourage teens to take precautions without bashing Jamie Lynn Spears?
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
LeftRight
TANSTAAFL
05:47 PM on 10/10/2008
Now that's not entirely fair. The fact of the matter is that with society being what it is today, having a child when you're still a teenager is very bad for most people. You aren't able to finish school, you can't get a good job, and you spend the rest of your life living below your potential. That doesn't happen to everyone, I know, but it DOES happen more than half the time. In THAT respect, it's NOT acceptable.

Now then, should you automatically abort the baby or give it up for adoption? I don't know. It's not my body and not my life. But until society comes up with a better response than we've got now, it will continue to be unacceptable for a teenaged girl to be pregnant!
02:34 PM on 10/10/2008
If you don't want your adolescent daughter to get pregnant, cut off her allowance and demand that she start babysitting. Taking care of kids is the best birth control there is, especially for a teenager who'd rather be hangin with her friends.
02:24 PM on 10/10/2008
It never ceases to amaze me that the same folks who demonize effective sex education and abortion can't bring themselves to glamorize adoption to their right-wing, christian, wealthy cronies. But they can still push/glamorize overt sexuality in front of their young, impressionable kids.
How hypocritical can you be and STILL look in the mirror every morning?
How ignorant can you be and still justify consuming good oxygen?
If we (that's a collective we, myself included) could manage some better parenting perhaps these young girls wouldn't find themselves in whatever psychological pitfall gets them to believe that having a baby at 15-16-17 was a 'good idea'. Any other 'epidemic' that was this damaging would already be the focus of a 'war on'.
01:55 PM on 10/10/2008
The thing that disturbed me most during the debate this week was McCain wanting to double the tax deduction for having children. In this overcrowded planet the LAST thing we want to do is increase the number of children people are having. And that includes parents of ALL ages. And you know that will happen if people can get a wad of cash at tax time for having lots of kids.
02:47 PM on 10/10/2008
How has population seemingly become the third rail of world politics? No one touches it any more. Population growth exacerbates every major problem we face; pollution, energy shortages, war, poverty, climate change, etc. The last thing we need is subsidized reproduction.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
kimbari
04:30 PM on 10/10/2008
It's a third rail because the world is running out of white people. They're afraid that *white* people will stop having babies and the world will be overrun with brown people.
01:50 PM on 10/10/2008
the "religious right" (puke) is all into everyone having lots of kids in spite of the fact that they can't be cared for. people without other financial options have always joined the military. more kids = more cannon fodder for the unending wars that just might bring on the "rapture". JMO
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phylliscooper1
still trying to figure it all out - except math
02:57 PM on 10/10/2008
More disturbing. one big-box evangelical church in Tulsa, OK. encourages their membership of 99.99% white people to procreate. These are not skin heads or white supremacists, (on record), but in their small minds, they are afraid that successful whites are being outpaced in the reproductive arena. Oh, but they are also pious and have a program to encourage adoption. Where do they suggest their faithful go to obtain these adoptive children? Inner city, poor children of every hue, in foster care facilities? No, try Asian countries so that they can get designer children who will do better in private and home school settings. How Christian of these folks.

I'll bet this is the norm in these inter - non- denominational churches, like the ones Governor Palin attends.
12:53 PM on 10/10/2008
These are important points to be raised, thank you Christina for speaking out about them. Every radio show or talk show I have listened to lately seem to praise these young girls for "doing the right thing" which reinforces all of this. It is sad. Most women do not have the resources that these "celebrity" teen moms do. And who suffers most in all of this? The children.

BTW, everyone needs to read Christina Page's brilliant book "How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America".
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
HockeyMom
I was here before SP and will be long after her.
12:40 PM on 10/10/2008
I am amazed at the religious right speaking of acceptance towards these babies born to teenage mothers. They have condemned teens for years and years, yelling at them in grocery stores, making the education system off limits to a pregnant teen, denying food stamps for the little mouths and on and on.

But now, for their own good and fodder we are to rejoice in the blessing of the uniting of the sperm and the egg. Lord knows why they don't want a piece of latex from keeping this unification from happening. But the question remains...are they gonna pay for the 20 years of food and education this child needs as well as her mother? Hell no. But they will use the situation for their own good. Hypocritical to the max.

Vote Obama/Biden and lets get on with cleaning up this mess.
12:29 PM on 10/10/2008
Teens having children now are like having the new "accessory". Like the saying '60 is the new 40' -- well 'A baby is the new purse'.

I was disgusted with Palin's response at the disclosure of her daughter's pregnancy. She said "she was PROUD of her daughter" and "even PROUDER to become grandparents."

Those statements are certainly sending a newsflash to teens of the acceptibility of being promiscous with no forethought given to protecting themselves for what will set their futures on a path of responsibilities to which they have no idea about. No where in her press statement did she speak to the issue of teen sex & pregnancy rising statistics and dangers.

Her daughter was old enough to be able to know her actions could change her life path so quickly. But I put the blame on the mother -- Sarah -- for the lack of guidance and values and the lack of providing knowledge and education of usage of protection. Bristol 'may' have a support system, which I'm not actually sure about in that I question her mother's narcissistic motives in everything she has displayed since being introduced to the world stage. Most young girls sadly do not support.

Since Palin's introduction weeks ago -- never have I heard another word from her mouth about this platform. The question should be constantly raised re this issue to her as it's a known fact about her daughter.
12:56 PM on 10/10/2008
Cristina, I'm so glad someone finally called attention to the less-than-glamorous side of these celebrity teen pregnancies. Meede, I think you're absolutely right that parents need to take responsibility for educating children about contraception, but the schools also need to play a role. Only 2 days ago, the infamous Gloucester school of the pregnancy pact girls oked providing students with condoms and birth control, but only if they have signed permission from their parents. How embarrassing is that for a teenager, and how useless if their parents say no. Schools need to provide comprehensive sex-ed and no-questions-asked, free contraception if we really want to reduce teen pregnancy in this country.
01:19 AM on 10/11/2008
Thing is, the kids whose parents are going to refuse permission are probably the ones who need it the most.
12:25 PM on 10/10/2008
The Media are failling the public..what are they afraid of? Why twist and turn and bend backwards for Mccain and Palin?. Now the Mcpalin are claiming that The Media is on Obama side when in fact the Media have been covering up and putting there dignity at stake for Mccain. We have seen so much lies about Obama for two years on all major TV channels most times none stop and yet MCain the liar and a flipflopper goes free. Faux News are bashing Obama's reputations none stop. They have become obsessive and destructive when it comes to Obama. Yet Mccain still moan. The problem with Mcpalin is that they have no clue about who they are or where they want to lead the country. All they have is to incite hatred, spread lies and diminish Obama's reputation. I just wish the GOP think deeply about the consiquences of this deplorable behaviour. No wonder why the GOP are loosing seats both in Senate and Congress. DON'T BLAME OBAMA, LOOK AT THE MIRROR AND THEN LOOK AT WHO YOU NOMINATE TO REPRESENT YOUR PARTY... AND ACCEPT THAT MCCAIN AND PALIN IS A BRIDGE TO NOWHERE. PERIOD...YOUR JUDGMENT IS ERR.
12:10 PM on 10/10/2008
"Teen mothers, typically left to go it alone, are less likely to complete the education necessary to qualify for a well-paying job ..."

These kind of startling stats are pretty inconsequential amongst folks who are anti-education, anti-science, anti-intellectual, etc.
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
respectingothers
12:20 PM on 10/10/2008
and they are also anti-taxes and without taxes to pay for preventive medical care of these young women and their babies you end up with tragedies and overburdened emergency rooms which we all end up paying for with higher medical costs for ourselves. also they are against birth control and I have to wonder how many of THEM successfully used abstinence as a Birth control method
01:21 AM on 10/11/2008
But hey, at least they choose life! Who cares about the actual quality of it?
11:58 AM on 10/10/2008
I was a teen-mom. But I was one of the very lucky ones. Married (and still married to) baby-daddy and had loving family support from both sides of young-grandparents even tho we were all of very modest means.

I shudder to think of what it's like for that other 99% of us who didn't have the support I did. Because even with that support it was very, very difficult. Not because I did drop out of HS (and it took over 10 years for me to get back to getting my diploma) and haven't yet been able to do more than a few years of junior college.

The worst of it came from certain people denegrating me (to my face and in other ways) and others like me because we must be stupid, sinful bimbos who couldn't possibly have any brains (or feelings or a soul). Hardly ever heard any comparable opinions about the teen fathers, btw.

Ironically, these are the same folks who want to remove the right to choose for any woman.
02:19 PM on 10/10/2008
Good for you being an exception to the norm! My sister was also a teen mother who was lucky enough to get married to (and is still with) the father. It's wonderful to see stories like yours and hers of support and success, but I completely agree with you that situations like yours make-up maybe 1% (if we're lucky) of teen parent stories. It's a cycle that constantly perpetuates itself; children of teen parents often become teen parents themselves. I've actually had friends of mine who were teen parents wonder why I would want to wait until after I'm 30 years old to have kids. 'You'll be so much older than your kids' is there argument. 'My mother and I were only 16 years apart and it made us such good friends' one told me once. Maybe if her mother had spent more time being her parent and less time being her friend she wouldn't have gotten pregnant in her teens, just like her mother.
11:33 AM on 10/10/2008
maybe the problem is not so much the pregnancy as it is the girl's mindset. One of the girls from Gloucester was so upset about the possibility of not getting pregnant she found a homeless man to be the father...
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BlackJAC
It's better to be a black king than a white knight
11:59 AM on 10/10/2008
Have you been to Gloucester? It's not exactly what one would call "high-rent."
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
respectingothers
12:24 PM on 10/10/2008
that's part of the point lower socioeconomic areas have much less hope for their future and grew up living on the dole and expecting more of the same. these girls need a reason to HOPE their lives can be different and for that we need Obama not four more years of Mcsame. it should be a hand-up not a hand-out.
07:09 AM on 10/10/2008
70-80 years ago this would be common place. Teens got married. 100 years ago she would almost be a spinster. Times change customs change. Why should we be suprised that they might change back? Not all change is positive. I think that society is rejecting the stupid idea that children are burdens to be tolerated instead of the older idea of something to be rejoiced.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
LeftRight
TANSTAAFL
09:14 AM on 10/10/2008
70-80 and 100 years ago marriage was also something that occurred for LIFE, and NOBODY got divorced. In addition to that, child mortality rate was MUCH higher then than it is now....... Not only that, but death during childbirth was MUCH higher than it is now.

The fact of the matter is that times change, customs change, and sometimes people don't change as fast as the customs do. Children are not viewed as burdens, children who are not able to take care of their own children are the ones being burdened....
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BlackJAC
It's better to be a black king than a white knight
11:57 AM on 10/10/2008
"Teenager" didn't exist until the 1950s when companies figured out it was a demographic to market stuff to.