I just posted about how parents are having trouble breaking the news to the daughters that 16-year-old girls like Jamie Lynn Spears can indeed become pregnant. Shocker, I know. While I was pissed that nobody was too concerned about the fact that Jamie Lynn was living with her 19-year-old boyfriend or about how to talk to teenage boys about safe sex, I think this story has it's high points too . . . from a feminist perspective!
This AP article talks about Jamie Lynn Spears, the real-life pregnant 16-year-old, and Juno, the pregnant 16-year-old played by 21-year-old Ellen Page on the silver screen in the movie Juno. It seems like conservative Christians have to do a little double-talking due to this "onslaught" of pregnant teenagers in . . . places, as if they never existed! Bill Maier from Focus on [a confining view of] the Family had this to say:
It's a double-edged sword in the Christian community. We should commend girls like Jamie Lynn Spears for making a courageous decision to have the baby. On the other hand, there's nothing glamorous or fun about being an unwed teen mother.
I would like to know what's so courageous about deciding to have a baby, or what's particularly glamorous or fun about being a married teen mother. And did Maier think too hard when answering and said "have the baby" instead of "keep the baby" like a good pro-lifer would? I think he might have! What do you say Leslee Unruh?:
When I heard the story, I felt sad at first. Already her life is not the norm of other 16-year-old girls. You have a lot of teens who look at those people as role models. There's a danger of them thinking, 'She got pregnant? I guess I can have a baby too.'
What?! Leslee Unruh said this? Leslee "More babies! We lovebabies!" Unruh? Leslee "Fertility is a gift" Unruh? Leslee "It's a gift to be able to have children" Unruh was sad when she heard that someone was pregnant and nervous at the prospect of other teens wanting babies too? Never thought I'd see the day.
Basically, conservative Christians are in a real spot here. They have to choose between supporting abstinence-until-marriage or birth control, as well as applauding teenagers for having babies instead of abortions (or being on the pill to prevent both, oddly enough) without making it sound like having a baby in your teen years is a good idea. I don't think Maier, Unruh, or any of the other pro-lifers quoted in the article nailed it. Their message goes a little like this: Ladies, don't have sex. Stay virgins until you're married, okay? I mean, you're ladies, not sluts. But if you do have sex, make sure you're not on birth control, because birth control is bad because protected sex doesn't cause babies, and that just ruins our "Sex causes babies" campaign. Chances are, you won't be on birth control, since you've been exposed to abstinence-only education. And since you won't be on birth control, you could get pregnant. If you do get pregnant, go through the pregnancy and birth and either raise the baby or give the baby to someone else. As the old saying goes, there's nothing more responsible than having unprotected sex and becoming a mommy when you're an unmarried teenager without a high school education.