It seems that Mayor Bloomberg can’t seem to stay away from controversy. His last major campaign targeting sugary drinks over 16oz (491ml) had many people seething, including business owners and consumers. That controversial law, which was shot down by a judge, is now working its way through the courts. The latest controversy is directed at teenage pregnancy. It’s being deemed controversial because of its harsh, pointed slogans. They include, “Dad, you’ll be paying to support me for the next 20 years”. And “honestly, mom, chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?” According to Bloomberg, the message has to be harsh in order gain the attention of the target audience; teens. The ads “will highlight that it cost $10,000 per year, on average, to support a child and that children of teen parents are twice as likely not to graduate from high school.” Although Planned Parenthood supports the campaign, many groups on every side of the political spectrum are voicing their displeasure. Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said she thought the ads were “harsh”. MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry took particular issue with the campaign stating, ‘this image of a child mocking her young mother with partner abandonment is simply a step too far. Maybe you don’t realize this, Mr. Mayor, but most of us who were raised by single moms never had any interest in shaming them. We tend to praise them, recognize their sacrifices.” While one can certainly understand her anger based on her personal experience, there are always exceptions to the rule. And the fact remains, teens who get pregnant and don’t finish high school, are far more likely to experience poverty and to remain impoverished. It’s not only sad for the mother who’s too young to be a parent, it’s sad for the child who deserves better. So kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for not being concerned about the negative reaction to an important and poignant message.
And quite frankly, it’s better they get a harsh warning than have the live the harsh reality of being teen parents. I too applaud the mayor.