Chicago's shocking ads to reduce teen pregnancy

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Chicago’s shocking ads to reduce teen pregnancy

June 19, 2013 -

Imagine you’ve just boarded a bus or train in Chicago.  Amidst the jostling for seats, you glance up.  Plastered overhead is a picture of a pregnant teenage boy, with swollen belly and sullen face.  The tagline: “Unexpected?  Most teen pregnancies are.  Avoid unplanned pregnancies and STIs.  Use condoms.  Or wait.”  The campaign is sponsored by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

American leads the industrialized world in teenage pregnancy.  One out of three girls in our country becomes pregnant before the age of 20, 89 percent out of marriage.  Given the enormity of this challenge, public health officials are doing whatever they can to respond.

Anti-abortion support holds up his 8-month-old daughter during Rally for Life outside the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse, site of the landmark Roe v Wade lawsuit filing, in downtown Dallas, January 19, 2013 (Credit: Dallas Morning News / Tom Fox)
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Tragically, abortion is a common result: Nearly 200,000 babies are aborted every year by teenage mothers.  However, a fascinating new report tells another side of the story.  A demographer recently studied women who were turned away from abortion clinics, the vast majority because their pregnancy was too advanced.  Of the women interviewed, nine percent eventually put their child up for adoption while the rest kept their child.

Here’s the finding that struck me: Only five percent of the women, after they had their baby, still wished they hadn’t.  In other words, 95 percent of women who sought an abortion but were turned away were glad they did not end their child’s life.

Charles Darwin claimed that conscience “is by far the most important of all the differences between man and the lower animals.”  In fact, he believed that morality makes society possible.  George Washington further connected morality with democracy, observing that “virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”

Such morality, to be worthy of the name, must care for those who most need care.  Their number includes both the teenage unwed mother and her unborn child.  Of the large number of women who experience post-abortion problems, 80 percent say they would have carried their child to term under better circumstances or with the support of loved ones.  It is vital that we be “pro life,” not just “pro birth.”  How can we be both?

Mother Teresa’s concluded her now-famous remarks to the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast: “If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world.  From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak—the unborn child—must go out into the world.  If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for.”

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