It’s not an uncommon story: Teenage girl grows up in a conservative town; teenage girl gets pregnant; teenage girl has baby; town is scandalized. But here, the teenage girl got her life together — being a mother pushed her to be more responsible, and she got her grades up and stayed in school, despite having the odds stacked against her. Her fellow students took notice, and wanted to write a yearbook story on her — but the conservative, likely “pro-life” administration would have none of it.
Her classmates decided to write about Shipman’s story of choices and challenges in the yearbook.
But school administrators said the article would glamorize pre-marital sex and send the wrong message.
Mr. Crummel said that Ms. Estes and Ms. Shipman were well spoken and articulate at the board meeting. He believes principal Cash made his decision because the yearbook story was in conflict with the school’s position of abstinence-only education.
And therein lies the entire crux of the anti-choice movement: They are willing to actively deny reality in order to promote their ideals.
Ms. Shipman’s existence, and the existence of her child, are in conflict with the school’s position of abstinence-only education. The majority of Americans conflict with the school’s position. Reality conflicts with the school’s position. As Doug writes:
Ahh, now we see what this is really about: that “abstinence-based curriculum” failed dramatically in at least one instance, and now they want to make sure that instance is kept under wraps.
The Shipman case is a microcosm of everything that is head-slappingly screwed-up about the right wing’s attitudes toward sex and pregnancy. Basically, the way they think things should work is this: If you’re in high-school, you should only be exposed to an inaccuracy-laden form of sex education that is no more likely to keep you from having sex than other forms of sex ed. When you do go ahead and have sex anyway, chances are you get pregnant, because you never got any accurate information about birth control or contraceptives. Once you get pregnant, you have to carry the child to term, because abortion is wrong — but even if you do keep the baby, we’re still going to shun you and treat you as a leper because you never should’ve had sex in the first place. And God forbid you work hard, finish your schooling and make something of yourself, because then you’re “glamorizing” teen pregnancy and demonstrating to your peers that God doesn’t automatically make pregnant teens spontaneously combust in a fireball of shame. Here’s a question: How many pregnant teenage girls will see a story like this — in which another girl did everything she was “supposed” to do in handling her pregnancy, yet still got treated as damaged goods by the Powers That Be — and figure that, if that’s as good as things get when you actually “choose life,” they might as well get an abortion?
Of course, working to create circumstances that will actually increase the demand for abortion is nothing new to the right wing. But not only are they working against reducing abortions, they’re working against teenagers — particularly girls — at every single step of the process.
- Teen pregnancy and abortion up for the first time in a decade. Thanks, abstinence-only education! by Jill January 26, 2010
- 16 and Pregnant by Jill February 22, 2010
- Just When I Thought We Could Agree on Something… by Jill June 22, 2006
- A Modest [Feminist?] Proposal by Jill February 19, 2008
- Oprah and Teen Pregnancy by Jill January 20, 2007