The Difference a Teen Mom Makes

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MTVTeenMom.jpgRecently, a new report called “The Millennials, Religion, and Abortion Survey” was released by the Public Religion Research Institute. It’s being characterized as one of the largest surveys ever to measure the relationships between people’s moral and spiritual values and their views on abortion.

In addition to correlating young people’s views on abortion with demographic data such as their education, race, religious affiliation and the like, the researchers added a few new factors to the list, including whether the interviewee knew someone who had an abortion, whether they had seen an ultrasound and—interestingly—whether they had watched TV shows that featured unmarried pregnant teens and women.

First off, some of the overall numbers were a bit surprising. Among the 18- to 29-year-old crowd, 46% were either affirming (16%) or neutral (30%) when it came to their off-the-top-of-their-head association with abortion. Which leaves 54% in the opposing camp. And that matched up exactly with the 46% of “yeas” and 54% of “nays” when these folks were asked if abortion was “morally acceptable.” (Even though 60% of the Millennials attested to believing abortion should be legal.)

Things changed a bit when the “add-on” factors came into play. As you might expect, those who knew someone who had an abortion, for instance, were slightly more likely to support abortion, and those who had recently seen an ultrasound were slightly less likely to support it.

The big impact, however, showed up when they threw a little TV watching into the mix. The Millennials who had seen MTV’s Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant approved of abortion to the tune of 65%.

It’s impossible, of course, to know why watching these shows seems to skew viewers in favor of abortion. Or even if the truth of it is that people who already favor abortion tend to be attracted to the series. But I can’t shake the feeling that the media is exerting an influence on our convictions about what’s right and wrong, what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Han:

To make a bold statement, I might suggest that the demographic that MTV caters to is probably more pro-abortion than the average population.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Shay:

I agree with what you are saying, but if this was a message that the media wanted to get out, they would find a way.  I know some pro-life who did the adoption thing and would be happy to share their story for free if it saved just one baby.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  crh:

i don't agree and here's why. first of all, teen mom and teen mom 2 have NEVER encouraged abortion. none of the girls chose abortion because most of them don't believe in it and they are all happy they didn't do it. second of all, adoption HAS been brought up in with catelynn in teen mom and two other girls in 16 and pregnant. they showed that it is an easy decision by any means and i believe it was the right choice for all three of those girls, considering their unstable homes. being a parent is putting your child before yourself and doing what is best for your child, even if it is not what makes you happy. catelynn and tyler got their daughter out of their unstable homes and put her with good christian parents who were ready for her to give her the best life possible. unlike other teen shows, this show does not encourage teens to have sex, it shows the difficulties that one mistake can have on your life forever, no matter if they choose abortion, adoption, or to raise their child, to encourage teens to think before they act. many of the girls have even said in interviews that if teen mom had been on when they were younger, it would have stopped them from having sex. i'm not for abortion either, but bottom line is, they are spreading a message to teens to think before they act, because once pregnancy happens to a teen, no matter what they choose, their life will never be the same.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Daniel_C:

Sookie, the reason I (as well as many other pro-lifers) use the term pro-abortion is because, in my view, the title of "pro-choice" is one of the most brazen and tragic misrepresentations in modern politics. By very definition, those who approve of abortion are leaving the unborn children out of the picture. Were they able to form opinions, would humans in utero not chose to live? And by allowing mothers the "choice" of killing their babies, are they not disrespecting the right of the life inside them to enter the world unharmed? It's clear cut as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Sookie:

Hey Daniel, those advocates your talking about are pro-choice, not pro-abortion.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  YetAnotherTeen:

It's a perfectly viable option, but the adoption industry doesn't make millions of money it can send to people to pay them to broadcast their options within the TV shows (versus just commercials).

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Hithwenur:

Daniel--Does no one consider adoption a viable option, then? I know that there is still the difficulties of the actual pregnancy and the associated social stigma, but still, it's a way for the girl not to have to raise the child without terminating it.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Daniel_C:

It's sad but understandable that those without a life-affirming worldview would even more firmly support abortion after viewing shows like Teen Mom. The belief that teens are generally not mature enough to handle the responsibilities of children is not exclusive to either side of the issue, but without the accompanying belief that intimacy should wait until marriage, the only solutions pro-abortion advocates can offer to the teen-pregnacy problem are (unreliable) contraceptives and forcefully ending the lives of babies.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  YetAnotherTeen:

It might have something to do with a less then positive view of the ease of owning a baby. I've not watched said shows, but from my understanding they don't just show the positives when it comes to babies. One of the major reasons for a teen not to abort is the hope that a baby will be a "cute little friend" or some such thing, not realizing how much work it is. If they learn otherwise, abortion might seem the best option to them. Not a positive thought indeed.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Mary:

I am surprised at this since most of the girls on the show affirm that they are glad they kept their babies and most people who watch the show fall in love with the kids on the show...