Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg has become an interesting urban social engineer. In 2012 alone, he pumped nearly 2.5 million dollars of his own money to help legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Maryland. Needless to say, he has become a formidable foe to traditional family values.

More recently he proposed an ill-conceived soda ban. I criticized his maniacal attempt to force New Yorkers to eat right a few weeks ago. Although his goal for better health among the urban poor is a pandemic issue in every US City; his solutions will hurt minority businesses, increase government expenditures, along with many other intrusions into personal freedoms. Surprisingly, in this article, I am highlighting one of Bloomberg’s better, less invasive policy concepts. Let me explain!

Last month, thousands of posters were put up around New York City. They carried images of crying toddlers with words for teen mothers, including messages like: Because you had me as a teen, I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school. Mom, chances are, he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?

These statements reflect the ugly realities of unwed teenage birth. Children raised by a teenage parent are twice as likely to drop out of high school and have multiple issues from low achievement to criminal behavior. Mayor Bloomberg’s goal with this campaign was obviously to raise awareness of the challenges of teen parenthood. Who could possibly object to that?

Only groups that profit from the tragedy of illegitimate pregnancy would oppose such a thing. Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! Planned Parenthood of New York (PPNYC) immediately issued a press release condemning the billboards, stating, “Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) denounced a new teen pregnancy prevention ad campaign unveiled this week by the New York City Human Resources Administration for shaming existing and to-be teen parents and their children.” Apparently, Planned Parenthood finds the very thought of young people feeling ashamed because of bad decisions repugnant. My colleagues and I wish that these “shamed feelings” were the biggest consequences of their out of wedlock, premature pre-mature entrance into parenthood. They are not.

What did Planned Parenthood propose as a solution instead? A self serving recommendation that the City’s money would be better spent helping teens the same way PPNYC has been doing for at least fifty years. They proposed giving access to health care, birth control, and high-quality sexual and reproductive health education.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.