It’s Wrong to Target Unwed MothersNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has transformed from an elected official into Superman. He limited commercial sale of soda and now he’s attempting to prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancies. Bloomberg enlisted the state’s Human Resources Administration to plaster advertisements in bus shelters and subway stations. The provocative ads, which feature distressed children speaking about their plight to their parent, are raising alarm among feminists and family advocates.

We know the statistics. More than 54,000 children were born out-of-wedlock in New York City in 2010 and this number continues to increase.

We also realize children raised in single-parents are considered “disadvantaged” based on studies and statistics. Bloomberg even refused to participate in a similar campaign two years ago, based on the racial implications of launching such a campaign.

He should’ve followed his first mind. Targeting single mothers without considering external factors such as what constitutes wedlock, the non-traditional families excluded from this definition, and the concept of villages raising children instead of two parents is both problematic and a method of shaming. Single mothers face enough societal stigmas about their parenting abilities without the government intervening.

The advertisements aren’t the worst of it though. Miriam Perez, a writer at RH Reality Check followed the instructions listed at the bottom of the advertisement. She texted “NOTNOW” to 877877 and was prompted to select a character (Louis or Anaya). It was downhill from there. The text messages sent unrealistic scenarios, designed to purport the unsuspected consequences of unwed pregnancies. All Bloomberg and his troop have accomplished is forcing heteronormative family values on women without offering solutions for preventing unexpected pregnancies.

Shame is not a prevention tactic. Education is. Economic mobility is. Community resources, like Planned Parenthood, are helpful in educating future mothers and fathers about the potential consequences of teenage pregnancy. Instead of shaming women, Bloomberg should offer jobs and community programs instead of backward advertisements.


Teen Pregnancy + Unwed Mothers



  1. Chasten

    I totally agree with this article. It’s not only that young people need to be educated but most often its their environment.
    We have many adults who are parents but who are not active participants in what’s the best welfare for their children. These same parents most often have no value system of their own, seek out pleasures of their own, worry only about themselves, their own problems and leave their teenage children without a parent.
    In return,these teenage children find themselves seeking for love and affection in all the wrong places. Idleness, and lack of opportunities leads the way though the beauty and the lure of sex which finds its way crept into the minds of children seeking love instead of guidance of knowing their true value and worth.
    Where there is no parent to parent, the cycle of teen parenting, bad parenting and poverty repeats itself over and over again until someone is bold enough to stand up and say enough is enough! Sa.De.J. quote copyright.

  2. eshowoman

    The teen pregnancy rate among New York City’s public high school students dropped 27% over a decade. How about doing more of what helped that decrease? It takes two to make an out of wedlock child, where are the signs for the teenage boys?

  3. I agree with the ads. Teen pregnancy and women having children by every boyfriend they had is a bit ridiculous. I have heard some comments about education being the key, but so far education hasn’t worked. A person has to be open to change before a change can take place. We need to stop tip toeing around the topic and tell it like it is. I applaud the ads.

  4. amazingafrogirl

    One would think that in the 21st century our society would have moved beyond holding up marriage as the ideal for young women. If the goal here is to prevent economically unstable parents, then why not focus on College-Before-Pregnancy or Career-Before-Pregnancy campaigning rather than putting emphasis on marital status and age? This is just sexist and heterosexist (what about lesbians who don’t ever want to marry men?) garbage meant to continue the control by men of women’s reproductive rights.

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