Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Body My Choice

Dr Phil discussed teen pregnancy on his show.  No I want to rephrase that.  He said he was going to discuss teen pregnancy on his show.  Instead he badgered a 16 year old girl who was pregnant.  He told her she was a failure.  Now he didn't use those words but that is essentially what he said. 

I've heard all the statistics about teen pregnancies.  I've heard all the boo hooing about how these girls are ruining their lives.  (Beware a rant coming... )  Here is the thing.  I got pregnant at 17.  I got married, had three daughters all before I was 23.  I finished high school, got a degree from a tech school and even went on to college.  Yes we lived in poverty.  Yes we made mistakes.  My daughters are now 29, 26 (almost) and 24.  They are amazing adults who are well rounded and incredible.  The statistics they spout are true I'm sure but here are a few facts that need to be faced.

We teach abstinence.  This does not work.  It hasn't worked since the beginning of time.  We don't educate our sons and daughters about how to have safe sex.  We tell them - no don't do it.  Well I'm sorry but you get some guy you think you love touching you and hugging you and rational thoughts disappear - at any age.  So we need to arm our children better with information. 

The step-father on this show objected to this 16 year old being put on birth control pills.  He told the mother that she might as well rent the girl a hotel room.  Well okay - rent her the damn hotel room but make sure when she goes to that hotel room she has birth control and condoms.  Because then she won't get pregnant.

Also if this young woman is making adult decisions to have sex - and that is an adult decision - then she needs to be held accountable for the consequences of those decisions.  So does the father.  First we pamper our children.  At 16 they know what is right and wrong and if they don't you have failed as a parent.  They should be buying their own clothes, working, and making their own decisions.  Parents should be offering advice and assistance but not making choices for them.  We need to stop coddling these kids.  You tell your kid "You got pregnant okay here is what I'm willing to do" and outline it for them.  Then tell them "you have to do the rest.  YOU are a parent now and responsible for the sole care of the child.  Therefore you better step up to the plate and do what needs to be done.  This means no partying, going without the things you want because your baby needs diapers, clothes, food etc."  If your kid is 16 and has a baby don't baby sit unless they are in school or at work.  If they want to go out, they can take that baby with.  If it isn't an appropriate place for the baby then they don't go. 

Second (and here is another rant) Where are the fathers?  Why are we holding the young women to one standard and the young men to another?  Were they not irresponsible and put their dick in someone unsheathed?  If they did or it broke or birth control failed.  Guess what.  They don't get to party either.  They have a child to support.  Get a job.  Go to school and get a job.  You have diapers to buy and baby food... and when they outgrow the diapers there are a thousand other things to buy.  This doesn't even cover being there for the child.  Every child needs and deserves the love of BOTH parents.  You wanted to play like men play so now live up to the consequences and be a MAN... (hate that phrase except in this case).  You wanted to play and obviously did.  So now you pay.  Step up to the plate and be a dad.  Not just a father - anyone can donate sperm.  It takes a strong and powerful man (not physically) to set aside his own needs and desires to do what is right for his child.

Dr Phil was all about how this girl should give her baby up for adoption.  She was not equipped to be a parent.  Well no shit.  But it is our job as the adults involved to get her the tools she needs to be equipped.  It is her body and it is her child.  Some old white guy (yup that means you too Dr Phil) doesn't get to say what happens to her body or her child.  Stop badgering and shaming the girl and offer her tools to help her be the best parent possible.

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