TINLEY PARK - The producers of MTV's "16 and Pregnant" aren't welcomed to film in Tinley Park, Illinois because their controversial series "sends the wrong message," contends the village's longtime Mayor Ed Zabrocki. The mayor is discouraging businesses from allowing the show to tape at their locations, despite the fact that one of next season's pregnant teens lives in southwestern suburb of Chicago, ABC Digital reports.
"I don't have my head in the sand to think it doesn't go on in this town; it does," Zabrocki said of teen pregnancy. "But let's not add to the glorification process."
"What's my 10 minutes in the sun? Five minutes on TV? How do I get on there, get pregnant? Is that a good message to send out?" he said.
Others argue that the 16 and Pregnant reality show is the hip way to teach sex education - and the ramifications of being sexually active and irresponsible.
The series, which is now showing its 4th season, has a coordinating website with resources and discussion topics. The first episode of Season 4 leads the conversation with "This Stuff to Keep in MInd":
- Once there is a pregnancy, every road ahead is hard – whether the choice is to become a teen parent, make an adoption plan, or have an abortion. In comparison to any of those, preventing a pregnancy is easy.
- You CAN prevent pregnancy. Either don’t have sex at all, or use contraception carefully, correctly, and consistently.
- Pregnancy is serious, so you need to take it seriously.
- Most teens who get pregnant never thought it would happen to them.
- Thinking it won’t happen doesn’t count – or work – as birth control.
- Teen pregnancy doesn’t have to happen. In fact, in the past 20 years, rates of teen pregnancy in the United States have declined by 42% and are currently at the lowest levels ever recorded.
- The majority of girls who have babies before age 18 don’t graduate from high school. Fewer than 2% graduate from college by age 30. Without an education, it can be a lot harder to support a family.
- Teen pregnancy is hard on teens – but much harder on their babies.
- A baby won’t make him stay. 8 out of 10 fathers don’t marry the teen mother of their child. Most couples don’t stay together at all.
- It takes two people to get pregnant, but only one to prevent it. Be that one!