Call me a cynic, but I think I may be on to something here, at least as far as the cycle of teen parenting goes. There is a disturbing and repetitive nature that spans generations within a family, locking members into an oppressive cycle of early sexual activity, unplanned pregnancy, under aged parenting and what often ends up a life of mediocrity at best and crippling dependency on government assistance at worst. The article linked below is a typical sad account of a daughter emulating a mother's mistakes and repeating poor life choices. The responses to the article in the comments section are sadder.
The issue at hand, it would seem, is twofold: birth control, an inalienable right for young women, is not being "handed out like candy" (as one reader plaintively lamented) and thus the sexual exploits of these children are producing (surprise!) more children; secondly, the pesky resultant offspring are being birthed rather than aborted, resulting in an unnecessary strain on the taxpayer. And the 15 year old mother. And society as a whole. So apparently the answer to this social ill is a predictable bit of leftist rhetoric: more readily available contraceptives, abortion on demand, and a greater disdain for children - at any stage of development- on the whole.
Teen pregnancy, or any "unplanned" pregnancy, is a problem. This much we can all agree on. Now in the unfortunate circumstance of the unexpected pregnancy, who is to blame? I believe popular reason would follow closely along these lines: first and foremost, the fetus is to blame, because he or she, by the very nature of his existence, is imposing a terrible inconvenience on the mother. His presence is that of a parasite to a host organism, and so his removal can be achieved without qualm of conscience. Blame is then assigned to the mother, irresponsible and incompetent, can't she properly self-administer her daily oral contraceptive? Perhaps in the case of habitual reproductive perpetrators, a simple annual shot of Depo might be in order...
Now, if mom was faithfully contracepting, the responsibility falls simply on the failed method. We shake our heads in disbelief. We must develop more reliable birth control methods. It's appalling that the elusive 100% efficacy rate still avoids modern science. Sigh. What can be done?
I'd like to offer an alternative interpretation: teen pregnancy is a problem. It's a problem because it's out of wedlock*. (*That means the mother and father aren't married) To each other. This probably means they don't love each other. Worst case scenario, they may despise each other. At best, they may reach some kind of amicable arrangement whereby responsibility and/or custody is shared. Either way, we're not looking at an ideal situation here; not for mom, dad, or baby.
Marriage, it would seem, is an ideal arrangement whereby two members of the opposite sex are joined together by God and their own free wills for the mutual benefit of the other, and with the intention to open their hearts and their homes to any and all children that may result from their copulative union. Sorry folks, but sex was actually designed to produce little human beings. When all goes according to plan, that's the end result. Not fair? Maybe not, but what are you basing your idea of fairness on? I'd like to consume nothing but Cool Ranch Doritos and chocolate for every single meal of the day and wear a size 4, but the intention of my actions doesn't change the outcome.
Metaphysics aside, the real issue here is nothing new: we all want to have sex whenever we want it. And we want it our way, not His. But we are shocked when things turn out badly, as in, not according to our plans. We're shocked when girls whose own mothers were 14 and pregnant turn around a decade and a half later and make the same choices. We're shocked when boys without fathers refuse to take responsibility for their lives, repeating the patterns they have observed from infancy. We're appalled when teenage mothers, desperate for love, choose to keep the baby growing within them in a misguided attempt at some of the stability and security they've always longed for. More than anything, we're shocked that sex results in babies. And bonding. They've yet to make a pill that can guarantee against that.
How about an alternative to a reformed welfare system that provides better "reproductive health care" and "options" for young women? How about a system which, out of genuine concern for the physical, mental, spiritual and socio-economic well being of our young people, promotes a message of responsible abstinence, of respect and reverence for the body and human sexuality?
Maybe, just maybe, after decades of sexual freedom and in spite of cheaply-available contraceptives (not to mention the persistent and continuing deterioration of the family unit), we can all stop scratching our heads and wondering what the hell is wrong with the way we're doing things. Or the way we're doing it, to put it bluntly.