In 2013, NYC’s Human Resource Administration (HRA) launched a public service announcement titled, The Real Cost of Teen Pregnancy. Below are some of the campaign’s original ads, which were visible at bus stops, subway stations and inside of subway carts.
“We aim to build on our success by asking teens to take an honest look at some of the realities of parenthood they may not have considered. By focusing on responsibility and the importance of education, employment, and family in providing children with the emotional and financial support they need, we’ll let thousands of young New Yorkers know that waiting to becoming a parent could be the best decision they ever make.” – Michael R. Bloomberg.
The Real Cost of Teen Pregnancy campaign fails teens in a number of ways. First, and perhaps the most problematic, the ads fail to provide teens with information on ways to prevent pregnancy and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, it blames young mothers for their failure to conform society’s expectations of heterosexual marriage and for a possible failure of their child to succeed academically in the future (whereas the responsibility of the father in this campaign, is purely a financial responsibility). Perhaps what is most frustrating about the campaign, is the hypocrisy of spending money on creating a visual PSA, as opposed to putting money into programs and resources that could help support the sexual and reproductive health of NYC teens.
Below is my response to The Real Cost of Teen Pregnancy campaign.