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 started blogging with Feministing in 2008, and now runs partnerships and strategy as a co-Executive Director. She is also the Director of Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, where she promotes meaningful youth engagement in international development efforts, including through running the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General's flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. A graduate of Harvard University, Lori has been named to The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans in the United States, and to Forbes Magazine‘s list of the “30 Under 30” successful mediamakers. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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

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