Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Stand: Teens and Sex

I should be asleep, or at the very least attempting to fall asleep. Instead I was watching a few episodes of an old tv show as a way to relax. The last episode I didn't finish yet. The show this time dealt with teen pregnancy. 
  A crisis clinic is on school grounds, one undercover cop pretends to be a pregnant teen, another cop is sent to be in with the pro life group that has been protesting the clinic. I was happy to see that at least they were showing both sides of the issue. The female cop is pro choice. The male cop in with the pro life group, at least at this point, is pro life. Having lost his family at a young age he knows what family means. And when his colleague argues that no one knows whether it's a baby or just a bunch of cells, he makes a valid point: Then why take that chance? Why destroy something that could be life?
  My views are very strong on this issue. I believe in life. Because of this, it is very hard for me to watch this episode. I don't always agree with things I see on the show but I think for the most part it brought a good message when the show aired. I am at the moment withholding judgment on this particular episode. I shut the dvd off when a young girl who is pregnant and struggling with a decision of what to do confides in the female cop. Both girls had been to see an adoption lawyer who turned out to be sleazy. The girl is upset and starts thinking that maybe it would be okay to raise the baby with her boyfriend. They could manage. Her friend the undercover cop starts shaking her head and I see the typical tv show response to this (and I've heard it in real life as well): 
   "You shouldn't let anyone tell you what you should do in this situation" and proceeds to tell her that she is too smart to let a baby drag her down. After all, she's been accepted to some very good colleges! And that's where I shut off the television. I'll go back to it, either tonight or another time. Right now, not a good time.
   The pro life group leader in the show did say that his group did not believe in violence. Kudos to the writers and producers for that. And he told his group no matter what the others do to you, don't get violent. Again, great job. But the protesters were being portrayed as hateful, close to violent people who like to yell in the faces of and shove teen girls who try to utilize that clinic. Makes for ratings and not so subtly convinces young people watching the show that pro life people are all like that.  I'm not naive enough to think that there aren't some over zealous pro lifers out there. Most of us just want to reach the mother and the baby and save lives.
  While I understand in real life clinics do give women information on abortion as well as counsel on keeping the baby or adoption, I've seen first hand a website for teen girls put the focus on abortion as the best way to handle a pregnancy and really discouraged adoption or teen mothering. Bias much? 
  This show was from nearly twenty years ago, and things haven't changed much on the small screen when it comes to this volatile issue. If someone has a pro life view, it's shut down with the words dont let others tell you what to think. And abortion is often pushed. I say often because the cop was trying to encourage her young friend at first to find another adoption agency. Whether the conversation stayed at that point I'll just have to watch and see.
  The show did make a valid point about the crisis clinic. Some of the girls who find themselves there haven't had a real conversation with their parents since they were told as a young child that all you had to do was wish for a baby. These girls need real answers. Very true.
  The first line of defense against teen pregnancy is the parents. Parents need to do their job and have frank discussions with their daughters and their sons. Kids need to be taught to respect themselves, others they may date, and they need to respect sex.
  Sex is a wonderful thing. But it is treated so casually these days! It's in your face on tv, in music, on the internet. Women are treated like meat or worse, and some either don't realize it or don't much care. 
  I am glad that clinics can give advice and contraceptives to women- and men. However, I believe that a child under a certain age should be highly encouraged to talk to their parents before receiving services there. And any place that will perform a surgery or administer medication on a minor without parental knowledge or consent should be shut down never to open its doors again. No exceptions. 
  I'm all for choice. Women and men are not base animals. We were given brains advanced enough to think, and to say no and to understand that anything man made can fail. If I pass my hand through a bonfire enough times, it's almost guaranteed that I'm going to get burned. Teens do need to know about birth control and how to use them. There are some adults who could use a refresher course on this as well. But they also need to know that first of all, just because your body may be all for it, mentally and emotionally they may not be ready. And that it is more than okay to say no. It's okay to wait. And they need to know that birth control fails.
  Life rarely hands us a get out of jail free card. While there is a legal way to "get rid of the problem", does it really solve the problem? What happens to the woman's feelings after its over? Some of these women feel guilt and depression for years on end after an abortion. Others decide its a great form of birth control. 
  While we are teaching sex education, responsibility for ones own actions should be taught as well. In the home and/or in the school. As one who would love to have another child, I happily advocate adoption. There are many of us out there who would love the chance to hold a child in our arms.  If a young lady decides to keep the baby, she should have support. Don't tell her she's throwing her life away or she's better than that. First of all, a child is never a mistake. What happened to conceive the child might have been, but the child is not at fault nor is he or she a mistake. Secondly, while education may indeed have to be postponed, it is not necessarily out of the question. With online classes and night classes and home schooling, it is possible to continue education even after having the baby. A young friend of mine went back to college within weeks of having her last child. Bottom line, there are options out there while still taking responsibility. A life doesn't have to needlessly end.

No comments:

Post a Comment