New York City’s new campaign against teen pregnancy is receiving backlash from critics who say it unnecessarily targets young mothers and their children, while others call it simply “brutally honest.” The series of ads show toddlers or very young children with unhappy faces, with sentences such as “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen” and “Honestly, Mom, chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”
Estelle Raboni, the director of the successful “Changing the Odds Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program” out of the Morris Heights Health Center in the Bronx, New York, said that “while the information quoted is technically correct, in my professional opinion I don’t believe the ads will work.” Raboni, whose program has been singled out for its effective strategies, added that “teen pregnancy occurs because of multiple factors: poverty, disengagement from school, lack of information and access to sexual and reproductive health services – shaming teenagers has not worked in the past and won’t work this time around either.”
New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, defended the ads, saying in a statement that “This campaign makes very clear to young people that there’s a lot at stake when it comes to deciding to raise a child.”
In a Today show report, NBC News’ Mara Schiavocampo talked to supporters and critics of New York City’s teen pregnancy campaign.