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16 and Pregnant Makes Americans Favor Legal Abortion

Americans Are More Likely to Support Abortion After Watching 16 and Pregnant

A new study by the Public Religion Research Institute set out to determine how people's moral values impact their views on abortion. It found that knowing someone who has had an abortion and watching either 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom on MTV significantly increase the likelihood a person will support legal abortion.

Both knowing someone who has had an abortion and watching a specific person on TV deal with an unwanted pregnancy give abortion more context. It's not surprising that when the debate is less hypothetical and more concrete, more people favor a woman's right to choose. Let's take a closer look at how these reality shows specifically shape the public's view, according to this new survey:

  • 65 percent of Americans who have seen 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom support legal abortion in all or most cases, compared to 56 percent of the general public.
  • 48 percent of those who have watched say abortion is morally acceptable, compared to 40 percent of the public.
  • 65 percent of those who have watched the shows say health care professionals in their communities should provide abortions, compared to only 34 percent of the general public.

With the tabloid covers and pseudo-celebrity status bestowed on the teen moms, MTV has taken heat for glamorizing teen pregnancy. Do you think this study makes a positive case for the shows?

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Join The Conversation
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 4 years
The show has done nothing to alter my ideas about abortion, but it has made me even less likely to watch Mtv. I just can't relate to and don't want to watch a show about a bunch of poor teenagers who've made dumb life decisions. To the extent it shows that unwanted pregnancies do have consequences and educates those who would rather ignore such realities, I guess the show is a positive development. There are traditionalists and anti abortionists who endlessly theorize about a woman's "natural" ability to be a mom and how satisfying it all is, completely ignoring the hard truths of the situation. I can imagine these folks watching the show to reassure themselves about girls who make the "right" decision, only to have their preconceptions challenged.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 4 years
The show has done nothing to alter my ideas about abortion, but it has made me even less likely to watch Mtv. I just can't relate to and don't want to watch a show about a bunch of poor teenagers who've made dumb life decisions. To the extent it shows that unwanted pregnancies do have consequences and educates those who would rather ignore such realities, I guess the show is a positive development. There are traditionalists and anti abortionists who endlessly theorize about a woman's "natural" ability to be a mom and how satisfying it all is, completely ignoring the hard truths of the situation. I can imagine these folks watching the show to reassure themselves about girls who make the "right" decision, only to have their preconceptions challenged.
JessRose JessRose 4 years
I agree w/ Amber512 and Roaring Silence. If anything has the show influenced for more responsibility/protection?
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 4 years
Has it convinced anyone to use better protection? Anyone? Bueller?
121gigawatts 121gigawatts 4 years
the first thing we learn in statistics is that association doesn't equal causation. It is highly likely that there is a lurking variable here. It's funny how people try and pass things off like this as causation.
anonymoushippopotamus anonymoushippopotamus 4 years
This is an incredibly biased and poorly controlled study. People who will be watching these shows will likely already be erring on the left. You couldn't catch a die-hard Mormon watching "Teen Mom."
amber512 amber512 4 years
Everyone I know that believes one way or the other has believed so long before these shows ever existed.
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