16andpregnant.com Is Cheesy, Not Dangerous

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 24 2009 5:47 PM

16andpregnant.com Is Cheesy, Not Dangerous

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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.

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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.

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