Pattie Mallette was a lucky single mom.
She got pregnant at age 17 and managed to raise a happy, healthy kid who is now 18 years old. Maybe you’ve heard of him: Justin Bieber.
Mallette says she considered getting an abortion when she was pregnant but credits her acceptance of Christianity for her decision to give birth.
For Mallette, the story is a good one. She made a tough decision and persevered.
Unfortunately, she now thinks she’s the right person to offer other young women advice. She’s executive producer of a short film that promotes carrying a child to term as the right thing for teens to do if they get pregnant.
Crescendo is the name of the film and it will be aired at American pregnancy centres that discourage abortion. The screenings could raise as much as $10 million for the centres to head out and convince young women and girls that their fetus is more important than their futures.
If any other woman who went through childbirth and parenthood as a single mom stood up and preached against abortion, we’d quickly see that her positive outcome was anecdotal. It worked for her but there’s no guarantee or much likelihood that other young, pregnant women could expect to reach age 37 and have been so fortunate.
Mallette is not your average single mom. Her son has fans. A lot of fans. Many of them are in the demographic that faces unwanted pregnancies – and advice from his mom will carry greater weight than words from single parents who have struggled and sometimes failed. They’re not quite so likely to stand up and want to tell their story.
Instead of a pop star son and bags of money, a single teenaged woman with a baby is more likely to spend time wondering how to pay for diapers and milk, let alone how to save for a college fund.
But teens don’t always think things through with an eye on real consequences.
They can look at Mallette and hope really, really hard that they might end up like her, with a happy ending. Teens are less likely than adults to do their research and act on what they learn. Given that the decision to seek an abortion or keep the child is a gut-wrenchingly emotional one, having a celebrity’s mom egging you on to make a life-altering decision doesn’t make things easier.
Casinos like to post photographs of big jackpot winners in prominent places. Lottery commissions publish photos of people with giant cheques after they’ve cashed in a winning ticket.
Both are designed to help gamblers part with reality and part with their money: “It could be me,” the next loser thinks. The photos create false expectations because the odds are stacked against the gambler every time.
Young pregnant women don’t deserve to have one lucky winner urging them to try their luck as single moms. For every winner there are many more who lose the promise of a good future.
Above: Justin Bieber and mother, Pattie Mallette seen at the 2012 American Music Awards, November 18, 2012. Image credit: Steve Granitz/Wire Image