Dr. Patricia Flanagan, director of the Teens with Tots program at Hasbro Children's Hospital and a leader of the Rhode Island Alliance, says a central goal of the effort is to reframe teenage pregnancy.

If it is no longer seen as a mere moral concern, or a "girls issue," or an inevitable byproduct of poverty, but as a public health issue, she says, the conversation changes. It is not just about Planned Parenthood, or birth control, or abstinence-only education anymore, but about talking with kids early about their reproductive plans, their family plans, their life plans.

It's about bringing new voices into the conversation: small businessmen or college administrators, for instance, who lose when a newly trained employee or newly enrolled student walks away after having a child.

And "Children of Children," Flanagan says, seems a potent way to start that broader discussion.

Becky, 16, tilts her head to the right and holds her baby daughter on her chest. She has four brothers and sisters, she says. Good parents. Strict parents. When she found out she was pregnant, she felt desperate. Wondered, briefly, if jogging might prompt a miscarriage.

"I cried and I cried and I couldn't tell him," she says, recalling her effort to deliver the news to her father. Later, she says — choking up at the recollection — she finds her mother in tears. "I had never felt so hurt in my life," she says.

Her family has been very supportive, she says. But it's hard. "My dad tells me, in fact he just told me yesterday: 'she's perfect, she's perfect. It's just the wrong time.'"

< prev  1  |  2  | 
Related: Generation gap, John McCain's economic philosophy, Twitheads, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , YWCA, Empire Street
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG