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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Monday, February 24, 2003 ::

I didn't watch the Super Bowl, so, until just now, I missed one of the most bizarre and offensive commercials I think I may have ever seen.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) came up with 4 new ads to dissuade people, teens in particular, from smoking dope. They want to make it clear that doing drugs can have tragic consequences. Four of the horrors they highlight are violence, death, terrorism and, of course, pregnancy . Woah, back up the circus truck! Did the ONDCP just say pregnancy?

In a familiar scenario a man and a woman are pacing the floor waiting for the results of the pregnancy test. They look worried. They look like they're in their 40's maybe, so perhaps the clock is ticking and they're having a hard time getting pregnant. We are told that their lives are about to change dramatically. The test is positive. Yippee! But what's this? The couple looks at each other like they've just been given a month to live. The text at the bottom of the screen tells us they are going to be the youngest grandparents in the neighborhood. The woman moves to the side and just beyond her we can see the form of her young daughter sitting on the toilet in expressionless dismay. She is the one who is pregnant, and her mother and father react as though she has just confessed to being JFK's "second shooter". The commercial ends just as the voiceover says, "Smoking marijuana impairs judgement. It's more harmful than we all thought."

WHAT?! Is it me or does this ad advocate abortion more than it opposes drug use?

Teen pregnancy is one of those things like finding out the baby you carry has Down Syndrome: it's not necessarily something you wanted for your child, but it's not the end of the world either. Unfortunately, you'd never know it from reading the ONDCP's website which alludes to teen pregnancy as a "serious long-term negative consequence" that can "cripple a young person's future", and so uh, just say no to hash?

To the commercial's credit, it does say the couple "will be" grandparents (never mind the fact that they already are), so technically it implies this family will not slap a tragedy on top of a challenge by aborting their family member. But one look at the effect the life choice is having and you get the clear message that you do not want to end up like them.

OK, so maybe I'm overreacting as much as the parents in this commercial, but good grief, the way America is innundated with subtle (and not-so-subtle) negative tapes of what it means to bear a child in a challenging situation... well is it any wonder that these days "unplanned" is synonymous with "unwanted"?

The ONDCP is telling our country that on the list of very bad things, a teen having a child is right up there with terrorism and death. With a message like that who wouldn't run to their nearest abortion clinic? When you consider that, in 1999, there were an estimated 52,000 drug-related deaths and over one million abortion-related deaths, promoting the one tragedy to disparage the other is neither compassionate nor reasonable..

Take a look and see if you don't wonder what the ONDCP was smoking when they came up with this thing.


:: ashli 10:01 AM # ::

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