MTV's Teen Mom is probably the most accurate portrayal of real parenthood on television today. But as far as its basis in the reality of teenage pregnancy, it's missing one major component:
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 27 percent of teenage (15-19) pregnancies ended in abortion in 2006.
That's a lot of teen "moms" who are not being represented, and the fact is, it does real teenagers a disservice. The reality is, there is a third choice and it isn't an easy one.
Teen pregnancy is currently a very hot topic. Shows like Teen Mom are bringing the conversation to the forefront. In the UK, there is currently a national health proposal on the table that would bring prenatal clinics into high schools.
But in the United States, young girls who become pregnant have three choices, and yet Teen Mom merely glossed over the third as though it didn't exist. Are the people at MTV really all anti-choice? Somehow I find that hard to believe.
According to Slate.com, MTV left it out for two reasons:
- It might not be safe (repercussions).
- It might not fill an hour-long show.
I just wish that a show that gives such a nuanced picture of adoption and the pain that causes birth mothers would do the same for abortion.
It's never an easy decision and is not, as some might have you believe, the easy way out. I have a hard time believing that it wouldn't fill an hour-long show. But I do see that it might not be good for a girl to go through such an ordeal on national television while she's only a teenager.
Still, perhaps they could have addressed it in a more generic way. Filled an hour-long episode with stories from older women who had abortions at 16 or who were considering it (without telling us the outcome). It just seems to me that all three choices ought to have been presented.
Do you think something was missing from Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant?
Image via MTV.com