New York City’s Edgy Teen Pregnancy Campaign

The end of “unintended” babies in the Big Apple?

New York City officials are ramping up their efforts to help eliminate teen pregnancy.

Front-line workers are dispensing the morning-after pill (Plan B) to girls as young as 14 at more than 50 public high schools.

And now, PSAs in the form of what some are calling “shock ads” are being distributed throughout NYC.

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Showcasing sad and distraught children that are living impoverished lives, the subway and bus shelter ads include warnings and statistics in an attempt to encourage the 27 percent decline in teen pregnancy rates.

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In a press release distributed Monday, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses the new campaign.

“There are still more than 20,000 teen pregnancies annually, 87 percent of which are unintended and mostly involve unmarried partners,” Bloomberg writes. “Decades of research show that children born to young, unmarried parents are more likely to be poor, have emotional and behavioral problems and are less likely to do well in school.”

He added: “Additionally, teen fathers are less likely to be involved with their children, which can have long-term negative effects on the children.”


Some are saying the ads create shock value, further stigmatizing teen parents and promoting gender stereotypes.

 “The latest NYC ad campaign creates stigma, hostility and negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering alternative aspirations for young people,” said Haydee Morales, vice president of education and training at Planned Parenthood of New York City. “The City’s money would be better spent helping teens access health care, birth control and high-quality sexual and reproductive health education, not an ad campaign intended to create shock value.

The Mayor’s office replied with the following statement,

“This campaign is part of the City’s comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention program, which includes sex education, increased access to birth control and partnerships with community based organizations.”

What do you think of the PSAs? Are they effective? Offensive? Spot on?

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