The poster campaign -- unveiled by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's (I) office this week -- shows images of crying infants and taglines that emphasize the negative consequences of raising a child as a teen, including social isolation, family conflict and poverty. The posters include a number that individuals can text to receive teen pregnancy facts and play a mobile game that chronicles the challenges of a pregnant teenager and her boyfriend.
Reproductive health advocates and women who had children as teens say that the posters stigmatize teen parents and their children without offering information on how to prevent unintended pregnancies. Planned Parenthood said the campaign ignores racial, economic and social factors that play a role in teen pregnancy.
Haydee Morales, vice president for education and training at PPNYC, said, "Hurting and shaming communities is not what's going to bring teen pregnancy rates down."
In response, Bloomberg's office -- which spent $400,000 over two years developing the campaign-- said it was "past time" to be "value neutral" about teen pregnancy, adding that the campaign aims to "send a strong message that teen pregnancy has consequences -- and those consequences are extremely negative, life-altering and most often disproportionately borne by young women" (Taylor, New York Times, 3/6).