Bashing teen mothers

It’s been a while since someone had a go at teen mothers, but Anthony Deceglie (or, to be fair, the sub) plays the shocked and outraged card in today’s Sunday Times: Number of teenage mothers mounts in West Australia:

HIGH school teens, barely out of primary school, are falling pregnant at an alarming rate.

Yet the very next sentence is:

Birth Registry figures reveal in Western Australia alone, five girls aged just 13 became mothers.

Yep, five. Alarming. It’s apparently a 20 per cent jump in the last twelve months, but we’re still only talking about 73 girls aged 13-15.

Interestingly, the rest of the article goes on to quote the Health Minister, head of Parenting WA, and Opposition on the value of talking about sex with your children and the need for more sex ed in schools for girls and boys, which isn’t something you normally read in a “oh, will someone think of the children because they’re all a bunch of dirty sluts who are only after the baby bonus” article on teen pregnancy.

10 responses to “Bashing teen mothers

  1. … yes and possibly impriove access to contraception and other “services” one my choose to use if one discovers one is pregnant with a baby they didn’t really plan…

    • Exactly. A younger friend in her early twenties called me one morning in distress – a contraception “miscommunication” a few hours earlier – convinced she was pregnant and was going to need an abortion. She had no idea you could get the morning-after pill at the pharmacy without a prescription. (I made a doctor’s appointment for her for an STD check, though.) So we can’t assume that everyone knows what is available to them and if they wanted it, they’d know where to get it.

  2. You can’t (or at least you couldn’t when I lived there) get the morning after pill in the UK without seeing a doctor first and getting a prescription. I was really surprised when I moved to oz to find out that you could just help yourself at the pharmacy. I still have mixed views on this. It is good to be accessible (and not requiring the knowledge of family doctors and parents which is often crucial to a teen) but the user doesn’t get any advice with it (not a lecture but advice on family planning, STD checks and what other options are out there in case it is too late for the pill etc). Then again I was astounded that the contraceptive pill is not free in Oz (which it is or was in the UK). This basically means a financial burden on women. My boyfriend (at the time) considered it to be ‘my’ expense and I thought it was ‘our’ expense…of course as contraception is still routinely, and in my opinion wrongly, thrown into the sphere of a woman’s responsibility I ended up paying for it.

    I used to go to an awesome clinic in the UK which was cool, relaxed and dealt with sexual health and family planning in an adult and non judging way to get the contraceptive or morning after pill – a harm minimisation approach well geared to younger people. However, I do remember once going to a doctor (with my boyfriend). I was in my 20s so not exactly a 13 year old and I was severely judged and lectured by the doctor and nurse about being ‘unsafe’ and a big ole slut despite the fact it was split condom so we had done our best to be safe (my boyfriend was not lectured – they wouldn’t even let him in the room!!!). It was a horrible experience that would put many girls off seeing a doctor.

    • The pill is free in the UK? That’s awesome. And so responsible. Ah, if only we had that sort of culture here, rather than one group of conservatives controlling everything.

  3. The Pill is subsidised in NZ too, you pay about $3 a month. Not like the highway robbery here, where is it about $40 for three months.
    The ECP is available from the pharmacy in all three counties now (Aus, NZ and the UK), but you do have to speak with the pharmacist and answer some questions (when did you have unprotected sex/what happened, when was your last period, have you taken it before, etc). Sometimes there is an air of disapproval, sometimes not. I think the ‘shaming’ would have more of an affect on younger women, but for me personally, I am old enough that I can deal with any real or perceived disapproval. Fuck em, I say! Although that is probably what ended me up at the pharmacy in the first place…

  4. % being a 20% jump…does that mean last year there were four? (or is my maths still woeful?) if so hardly an alarming increase, there were probably that many in my high school year alone.

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