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Originally published as "Stop Scapegoating Teen Moms," The Cap Times, July 27, 2022.
Young women from low-income backgrounds disproportionately bear the burden of reproductive injustice. This is unsurprising to advocates for reproductive justice. But what may be surprising is that these advocates often further the burden and stigmatize young women in the reproductive rights debates. And this must stop.
A new meme is being circulated by women’s rights advocates on social media that describes young mothers as “totally unqualified” for motherhood and “young, traumatized girls.” The intent is to say the country should allow young women to choose abortion. Yes. Young mothers should have reproductive freedom. But what this does not mean is that advocates should marginalize and stigmatize women who do not (or cannot) choose abortion. ALL pregnant persons have the right to reproductive justice. Teen moms do too.