Friday, December 21, 2007

She's Having a Baby

Just tripped over an interesting piece in the Boston Globe about teen pregnancy:
NEW YORK - In the new hit movie "Juno" and now in real life with Jamie Lynn Spears, 16-year-old girls get pregnant and decide to bear the child rather than opt for abortion. For many social conservatives, it's a challenging story line - they condemn the teen sex but hail the ensuing choice.

"It's a double-edged sword in the Christian community," said Bill Maier, a vice president of the conservative ministry Focus on the Family.
"We should commend girls like Jamie Lynn Spears for making a courageous decision to have the baby. On the other hand, there's nothing glamorous or fun about being an unwed teen mother."
In "Juno," the spunky heroine continues attending high school even as her pregnancy progresses, and she scouts out a married couple who want to adopt the baby. (Read the whole thing here).

I believe that a more challenging moral debate would be about whether or not there is a double standard regarding teenage pregnancy when race is taken into account. For many the unmarried, black teenage mother has become a virtual icon of the alleged depravity and decline of "black culture". How often do you hear pundits, politicians and intellectuals bemoaning the depravity and decline of "white culture" because sometimes a young white woman gets pregnant when she didn't plan to? Like so called "black on black" crime, it appears that the rules are different when a white teenager gets pregnant. I wonder if the movie Juno (which I have not yet seen), would be hailed as a brilliant comedy with a "spunky" lead if the story had been about a black girl rather than a white one, or rather a tragedy filled with violence and drug abuse. How many black girls are described as "courageous" for chosing to have their children when they face the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy? Our discource surrounding teen pregnancy must reflect justice and equity. Morally speaking teen pregnancy is teen pregnancy regardless of race . Let's have a moral debate about that.

"Tell,...the loved ones of God that equity is the most fundamental among human virtues. The evaluation of all things must needs depend upon it."

Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah