JAMIES SPEARS'S PREGNANCY: A "TRAGEDY?"
In my previous column, mainly devoted to John McCain's, I wrote about Mike Huckabee's unfortunate comment that Jamie Spears's pregnancy was a "tragedy." Now, my comments seem to be controversial with some Huckabee supporters (of whom I'm not one). Here's my additional comment.I wrote a column today with two parts, one about John McCain, the other about Mike Huckabee's criticism of Jamie Spears, who is pregnant at age 16. Mike called the pregnancy a "tragedy," which is a rather wild misuse of that word. He then apparently complimented Miss Spears on not choosing to have an abortion. Which is it, Mike? A good thing or a bad thing? Is she being irresponsible -- or is she demonstrating real courage.Later, I heard that Nikolodeon (which run Jamie's show directed to pre-teens and young teens) was planning to have a special (with Linda Ellerbee) on teen pregnancy. I wish Mike had suggested something like that approach, rather than being the clueless Southern Baptist minister we all have come to know and love. I've been on the scene with several teen pregnancies (including two in my own family) and the very last thing you should say to any mother-to-be is that being pregnant is a "tragedy" or even the the result of "bad behavior." Frankly, most young girls who are "with child" don't regard it as a tragedy but more like a blessing from God. That's the way members of my family looked at it, and abortion was never a consideration. Why does Mike Huckabee regard it as some terrible developing? Characterizing a teen pregnancy or any kind of pregnancy as some awful, tragic event is a great way to induce young women to have an abortion. Frankly, when a woman (or a girl) is pregnant, the "horse" has left the barn, and decent people (even Baptist ministers) have to move into a supportive role. If Mike is this easily horrified by something that happens 800,000 times per year (teen pregnancies), he needs a basic course in reality. The time to condemn Miss Spears ended at the moment of conception.Parents and friends who tell pregnant children that it will be the ruination of their lives are a major cause of abortion in the U.S. Pregnancy is NOT a tragedy. So, wake up, Mike. What I hope Jamie Spears will do is to advise other teens to avoid becoming pregnant when they are 17 or younger. At the same time, I hope she'll urge those teens who do become pregnant to carry their child to term -- and to bring him or her up with the support of family and friends. I also hope she'll take courses in parenting. In the past, she's been the rational, practical member of the Spears family, and I hope those qualities manifest themselves in the future.
As always, comments are welcome.
Addition on Abortion:
I've written a couple of times on the issue of abortion (and the related issue of embryonic stem cells), and I'm very impatient with candidates, like Huckabee, who are members of what I call "Pro-Life, Inc." Those who people who identify themselves as "pro-life," but propose no practical solutions to the problem.
Huckabee proposes a constitutional amendment, apparently to overturn Roe v. Wade. There will never be such an amendment in our life. The last serious Human Life Amendment (see Wikipedia) was in 1983. It needed 67 votes to pass, and it got 49. It's doubtful that such an amendment would get more than 40 votes.
There are practical ways to reduce the number of abortions -- and increase the number of adoptions -- in America. The candidates who seem most likely to do such things are Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.
Mike Huckabee's comments about Jamie Spears irritated me. He seems to have little understand of WHO gets abortions and WHY. Until we grasp such facts, little will be done to confront the conditions (such as poverty and parental pressure) that cause women and girls to have abortions.
What happened -- see Christopher's perceptive comments -- is that abortion is for many people, including Hollywood starlets, the approach with the fewest consequences. Some evangelical (not all of course) with a highly judgmental approach actually encourage pregnant women to have abortions.
If women, especially teenagers, are told that the worst possible thing that can happen to them is get pregnant, then they'll "take care" of that in short order. A child is either a gift from God -- or not. I choose to believe that "is" is the correct answer.
My experience has been that when girls get pregnant at a young age, they need support -- sometone to turn to who won't judge or verbally attack them. Often, they get the opposite from family and "lovers." Learning how to take good, basic care of a child isn't brain surgery or rocket science, but it's not something people know by instinct.
Many of the problems with teens in our society -- abortion, crime, poor performance in schools -- are not beyond solution. Most young people appreciate someone who's there to listen to them and to answer questions. They need a friend, not a persistent critic.
I believe Jamie Spears's mother loves her -- and that she loves her sometimes irritating older daughter. However, the evidence suggests she probably won't win the Parent-of-the-Year Award.
Teenagers like people to listen to them, although they often don't reciprocate. I wish parents and teens spent more time talking to each other -- and not at each other.
Anyways, I wish all mothers well. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it, and they're that "someone."