On June 11th, MTV unveiled its newest hit reality TV show, 16 and Pregnant, which chronicles the lives of six pregnant teenagers and the challenges they face. It is a typical teenager-geared reality show – real life kids dealing with an issue every teenager thinks about – sex, and its consequences. (And thanks to Feministing for first posting about it!)
The show’s official website does a great job of providing comprehensive sex-ed information for curious teenagers. The “Ask an Expert” link gives contact information for Planned Parenthood and the Plan B website while providing accurate information right there on the webpage. In response to the “What if I want to get pregnant?” question, they share, “Remember, it’s all about timing: preventing pregnancy now can help you be the best parent you can be later in life, when you’re emotionally and financially ready.” There’s even a discussion section where teens can post personal questions related to sex, pregnancy and womanhood, and receive answers from qualified experts.
But most teens won’t make it to the official website for the MTV show because anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers own the domain for www.16andpregnant.com! Click on the website and instead of finding comprehensive reproductive health information and links to Planned Parenthood, you’ll be faced with biased, medically inaccurate and coercive language about abortion procedures and risks, not to mention some extreme scare-tactics meant to intentionally dissuade teens from considering all of their options when facing an unintended pregnancy!
Just poke around and you’ll find many myths about abortion on this biased site which is masking itself as credible help. www.sixteenandpregnant.com asserts that abortion can lead to an increased risk of future miscarriages, premature births and breast cancer. It also states that “The baby can feel pain by the 9th week after conception.”
These statements are not true! According to the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and the National Cancer Institute (an affiliate of the National Institutes of Health) studies have not shown there to be any connection between induced or spontaneous abortions and a woman’s risk of breast cancer. And the Journal of the American Medical Association, in a report at MSNBC, shares that there are no significant studies to indicate fetuses feel pain until the 27th week of a pregnancy.
Our teenagers need easy access to accurate information about their sexual and reproductive health! How else can we expect them to make smart decisions about their behavior and its consequences?
Are you as infuriated by this issue as we are? Want to help make a difference in your community? Email Emily at Emily@naralva.org to find out more about the volunteer efforts in your neighborhood. And, click here to sign NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia’s petition (if you’re a Virginia resident/voter) to tell our legislators that these ‘fake clinics’ should not receive state funding!