Don’t get me wrong: As a rule I’d rather pregnant teens kept their babies instead of going for abortions. But really, I’d much rather teens didn’t have to deal with such issues through the good old-fashioned trick of not getting pregnant in the first place. I didn’t use to think that made me a weirdo. Now I wonder…
Andrea adds: I am flat out encouraged by what I’ll call the Juno phenomenon: Teens who understand what abortion is and refuse to go through with it. All these commentaries decrying the lack of abortion representation in Hollywood these days–I’ll have none of it. A pregnant teen is a problem. An abortion is a bigger problem. So is this idea that you can have sex and never get pregnant–that women can always prevent pregnancy. I’m going to go out on a limb and say something really controversial: Sex and pregnancy are linked. So long as all of us–teens, young women, young men–are encouraged to believe they can be separated, we’ll see teen pregnancies, and indeed pregnancies everywhere. I reject the notion that women can always prevent pregnancy, that there is a foolproof way to do so. We all know someone who was cautious, very cautious, and then got pregnant.
Sex education these days is a mess: who got the “Intimacy Pyramid” in grade nine phys ed? Ah yes, one is supposed to check off the level of intimacy one is comfortable with. At the bottom, holding hands and kissing. At the top–you know what (sex)– the idea being you could call it quits at any point in between. And that one step was unrelated from the other. I’m sorry, but it don’t work that way, especially not in high school.
Anyway–teens are the least likely to use contraception properly, and the least likely to be able to express at any point with a boyfriend or girlfriend: “Excuse me, but we are currently hitting a point in the intimacy pyramid that I’m uncomfortable with.”
We need to change channels on sex ed. But nonetheless, I’m glad we are seeing teens reject abortion. So they should. Nothing worse than hitting your 30s, finding you’ve spent your whole life preventing pregnancy, only to find now you want to get pregnant and can’t. That must be agonizing for those women who were encouraged to have an abortion.
So Brigitte–while I think I get what you are saying, I say this instead. Do tell me this is happening. Not the normalization or full out acceptance of teen pregnancy as a normal phenomenon, but the rejection of abortion as a fix-all.
Brigitte, er, clarifies: The headline on that Maclean’s cover story to which I linked is, “Suddenly teen pregancy is cool?” To which my answer is: Golly, I sure hope not!! Otherwise I agree with Andrea. But at the risk of exposing myself as a terminally old-fashioned and uncool person, I like to think 13- to 17-year-olds are better off studying, getting a job, playing sports and preparing themselves for a fulfilling life as a smart, educated woman, than they are testing the efficacy of various birth-control methods.
Andrea adds another two cents: Brigitte–terminally uncool is the woman who suggests babies have something to do with sex. I think you are doing okay- downright hip! With your clarification then we can agree: Teens are better off not having sex. But that’s where sex ed needs to change channels. Because (say it all together in singsong) “if they’re going to do it anyway,” they might as well have the “intimacy pyramid…” Right.