Honestly mom...chances are he won't stay with you.

Hate those terrible NYC teen pregnancy ads? Take action with “No Stigma! No Shame!” campaign

Honestly mom...chances are he won't stay with you.

A NYC campaign from the Human Resource Administration Think Being A Teen Parent Won’t Cost You?” is drawing deserved criticism from reproductive justice leaders and organizations for shaming teen mothers and fathers in the name of reducing early pregnancy rates. Since the ads were unveiled last week boasting such stale and infuriating slogans as “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen” and “Honestly mom…chances are he won’t stay with you. What will happen to me?” (pictured above), they’ve been pissing off feminists and reproductive justice advocates… and doing nothing for NYC teens outside of shaming and blaming them.

Planned Parenthood has emerged as a leading critic of the campaign, saying it “ignores the racial, economic and social factors that contribute to teenage pregnancy” and creates “stigma, hostility and negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering alternative aspirations for young people.”

Feministing alum Miriam Perez writing in RH Reality Check that there’s a less-publicized  component to the campaign that’s “even worse than the ads” and goes on to describe a completely infuriating SMS/mobile component leading teens through a “screwy game” of pregnancy-themed “choose your own adventure” which don’t actually include any actual information for teens trying not to get pregnant.

Here’s a good Storify summarizing many of the criticisms of the campaign. But we’re not here just to pile onto the criticisms. Today, courtesy New York Coalition for Reproductive Justice (NYCRJ), there’s more we can do than just complain or resort to renegade street art. NYCRJ is  launching it’s No Stigma! No Shame! Campaign in response to the campaign, and you can sign on today to push for a teen pregnancy prevention campaign that doesn’t shame and blame teen parents, particularly teen parents of color.

They have put out a call for individuals and organizations to stand with them and sign on. To do so, simply send your name, any affiliation or organization, and state to nyc4rj@gmail.com. Then get the word out by tweeting to handle @NYC4RJ or using #NoStigmaNoShame. The full sign on letter is available here.

Additional resources:

Gloria Malone, Teen Mom NYC

Natasha Vianna, The Pushback (MA Alliance on Teen Pregnancy)

Miriam Perez, RH Reality Check

Brittany Braithwaite, Amplify Blog – Advocates for Youth

Nicole Clark, MSW, Nicole Clark Consulting


Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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