There are days when I am sitting in front of the boob-tube, trying to unwind from a series of graduate classes, I will flip through the channels and settle on a show called 16 & Pregnant on MTV. I am a little torn about the show and here is why:
First off, I need to give credit where credit is due. Kudos to all of those girls who chose LIFE instead of abortion! You should all be commended.
Also, I do think that the show does demonstrate the trials and tribulations of having a child too young and I think we can all agree that 16 or 17 or even 18 is too young to have a child, especially if you do not have the stability of a steady home life. Some girls have been very lucky to have such a supportive family, others have had an extremely diffucult time trying to raise a child. Some have had the courage to give their babies up for adoption, an extra big KUDOS to those couples!
However, there is a website that is being promoted during this show: http://www.itsyoursexlife.org/. The information at this site I think gives mixed messages. Firstly, and again I have to give credit where it is due, they do promote abstinence and state that it is the ONLY form of birth control that is 100% effective with no side-effects, be it physically or emotionally. But this website also promotes all the other forms of birth control. This basically gives the message saying that if you're going to have sex, use contraceptives, especially that magical pill. This website also tells teens to go to Planned Parenthood if they think they might be pregnant.
The site does mention Natural Family Planning...but it says that this form of birth control, even though it has no side effects, is not very reliable, which gives NFP an even worse reputation. According to this site, 12%-25% of women get pregnant while using this method. I don't know where they got their statistics, but it is contrary to all the information that I've read on NFP. Then, this website gives kinda contradictory information by saying that when used perfectly, 2%-9% will get pregnant in one year while using this method, yet they still list this as an unreliable form of birth control.
NFP requires consistence, knowledge, and instruction. Those of us who are using this method understand we must be consistent in our observences and we must record what we observe every night, no exception. We do this becuase we are dedicated to our sexual and reproductive health.
Dr. Drew, who always hosts the 16 & Pregnant reunion show, asks each and every girl what form of birth control she is using. He chastizes those who are not using contraception.
While I think it is good that teens are seeing how hard it is having a child at such a young age and the teens who are featured are brave telling their story, I don't think that the right message is getting across. Instead of saying teens should go on contraception to avoid pregnancy, the message should be, 'Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time'. If you can't afford or are not in a proper situation to have a child, you should not be having sex. People will not explode if they put off having sex. You can still be in a loving, monogamous relationship without having sex.
Abstinence is the BEST answer and that message should be pushed more than what it currently is.