Torie , you wondered whether MTV’s show 16 and Pregnant will encourage teenage moms-to-be to consider adoption. At least one pro-life group hopes so: Lifeline Adoption oversees several pro-adoption websites, including the fortuitously-named 16andpregnant.com . Fans of the show who type in that URL won’t get a site about the show. They’ll get one aimed at girls who are precisely that: 16 and pregnant. At first glance it’s a relatively generic, “We know you’re scared, here are your options,” sort of site, but it quickly becomes it clear that the site designers really only have one option in mind.
The support hotline girls are encouraged to call is the National Adoption Answer Line. In the ” My Options ” section of the site, girls are told that parenting a child, “is a life-long commitment. When you feel like your whole life may be ruined by your pregnancy, it is even harder to look at parenting as a positive choice.” Abortion carries “physical and emotional risks.” But adoption provides a better life for you and your baby. Children who are adopted “grow up knowing that they are loved by both their adopted parents and the parents who gave them life.” A link to “more about your pregnancy choices” leads to another site that purports to answer questions like “How much does it cost to raise a child?” and “Is he daddy material?” (Answer: No.)
The ladies at Feministing came down pretty hard on 16andpregnant.com, calling it “completely inaccurate and dangerous.” I haven’t found the inaccurate or dangerous parts yet-abortion does carry physical and emotional risks, and parenting as a teenager is difficult. But I wonder whether teenage girls will find the site compelling, accurate or not. The cheesy stock art of teenagers in various stages of shock or sadness is off-putting. The supposed “stories” from pregnant teenagers fall too neatly into certain categories. (“Parenting is hard.” “Abortion is traumatic.”) I can’t imagine that today’s tech-savvy teens aren’t going to realize that this is a site that’s selling something.