Michigan - Teen Pregnancy and Abortion Issue

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My Newsletter: Link to Teen Pregnancy and Abortion Call to Action  2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Natasha Vianna Age: 17 School/occupation: Student (Highschool) / Human Rights Activist Location: N/A   Quote: "Prior to pregnancy, I often heard that when you become a teen parent you lose lall your friends."   About:
  • Was kicked out of house when told parents about pregnancy
  • Dropped out of Catholic highschool due to parents lack of financial support
  • Founded hastag #notateenshame with 5 other young mothers
  • Consults with politicians to support other teen moms
Goals:
  • Wants other teen moms to realize the positive facets of the situation
  • Change community outlook as a whole, not just individualized views
  • Remove stigma from the reputation of teen mothers

 

POV Statement:
  • User: Natasha, a proud yet highly scolded teen mother...
  • Need: Wants to eradicate the negative connotations expressed by communities...
  • Insight: Yet the stigma is too substantial; she solely wants people to understand both the positives and negatives
 

 

3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: I believe that an educational course (much like DARE with drugs and alcohol) would be one of the best solutions for this issue. Furthermore, the leader of this course should be a teen mom herself; this will be the most educational session for young children, for the instructor will have a passion for the topic of the course.

SOLUTION 2: Advertise not just being sexually safe, but the each facet that comes along with this. Although most of these will likely be negative, the more information portrayed on posters, billboards, or commercials, the more the community will learn about the topic.

SOLUTION 3: I think that a program or a start-up that helped teen moms would be extremely beneficial. Natasha spoke a lot about the ridicule she received after her announcement; teen moms should be supported, not banished. This program could assist financially, mentally (psychiatric consulting), or daycare for the child if the parent(s) need to attend work.

 

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Act 687 of 2002

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

 This proposal is all about education. This is a different kind of education, education that will stand out. Lessons that stand out are lessons that are remembered; finally, lessons that are remembered are lessons that are utilized. Young students that are taught sexual education will undoubtedly be affected: they will learn so much about their sexuality, others' sexuality, sex itself, and the positives and negatives that can come from being sexually mature / immature. This knowledge will imbed itself in their sexuality, essentially as a part of the student him/herself. 

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

By simply growing up; it has always been a problem for our entire country.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

In all honesty, it has not done much. The students at service are far too young to even comprehend the idea of sexuality. I have, however, thought about how one day they will grow enough to understand this, and how all of them mature into young men and women. I have simply thought about how I hope they receive a sexual education and make decisions that are best for themselves in their futures.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Teen Pregnancy and Abortion Call to Action 

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: My friend from high school, Sean, had a girlfriend all throughout high school. At his start of freshman year at Iowa State, his girlfriend, Kaitlin, publicly announced that she was pregnant. She, too, attended ISU. She immediatly dropped out to begin the process. Sean inevitably was forced to drop out of school about a month later. Now, he works a standard job at a grocery store earning about $15 an hour. Sean's mother has been out of the picture his entire life, and he has grown incredibly close with his father; they never argue. Sean aand his dad entered a massive argument, and Sean moved out of his house to live with Kaitlin. He has now made amends with his dad, and his dad has come to terms with the situation he and his son are in. Now, both Sean and his dad both work hard, knowing that every dollar they earn will likely go directly to the welfare of the child. Sean and Kaitlin had to make the tough decision to know they will not finish their college degrees. These days, their young boy is happy and healthy. I occasionally call Sean to check up on him. He told me that his life took a 180 degree turn, as he was just getting used to studying and having fun in college. Now, he solely works and spends time / takes care of his son. Reality completely blindsided him; he plans on marrying Kaitlin when the time comes. Sean told me that every small we take for granted (eating out with a buddy) is not a part of his life anymore. He bikes to work in order to save gas in his car. Overall, Sean has adjusted to his new life, yet he does have regrets. He told me he could have envisioned marrying Kaitlin, yet he expected it 10 years from now. He expected to have children with her, but it came 15 years too early. In essence, he had a life planned out, but his baby boy has accelerated his life by over 10 years. He enjoys his lifestyle, but it is exhausting and strenuous.

CONSULTATION 1 (again): Newest news of 3/28/19...

I had a three-way call with my friend Nick and Sean today. Sean brought up some horrible news to the both of us. As of very recent, his relationship with Kaitlin is over. This was very heartbreaking for both Kaitlin and Sean, but perhaps even more so for their son. Now, he must grow up hopping from house to house, as Kaitlin and Sean no longer live with each other. Furthermore, this only puts more pressure on both of Sean and Kaitlin's parents. The two of them used to have an easier time taking care of the baby, but now that the two are not together, everything changes. According to Sean, Kaitlin's older sister now spends a lot of time with the child. Even more so, Kaitlin's grand parents are temporarily living in her house for a year to always be with the child. This allows the whole family to work and provide for the child; Sean and his father are still working and supporting the baby financially, as well. Sean spends, according to him, anywhere from 2-3 days a week with his baby boy.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the situation is worsening for both Sean and Kaitlin. This has made everyone feel terribly for the old couple. Although I do not know exactly why the two ended their relationship, the point is that it did happen. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurance for child-bearing teen couples, and I feel horrible for my buddy to fall into that category.

CONSULTATION 2: As requested by the interviewee, this consultation will remain 100% anonymous. This acquaitance of mine mistakenly got a girl pregnant. This girl was not his girlfriend; the two had become close over the years and shared an intimate relationship. Sadly, the female had to receive an abortion; she nor my acquaitance was ready to take on a child, as they both were going to two separate and very distant states for college. The abortion left the both of them very sad. On top of it all, the two of them were both so frightened to tell their parents that they never did. The guilt of this and the entire matter itself haunts them both daily. The acquaitance was slowly paying back the girl for the abortion, as he could not do it in lump-sum. After about six months, he had paid his dues. The girl despises him, and although they used to be great friends and share in each other's company all the time, they no longer communicate and have never had a worse relationship.

CONSULTATION 3: My cousin Molly, was a junior in college when she started dating her boyfriend. She did not tell her direct or indirect family about her boyfriend. He was out of schooling, about three years older than she. At the start of her second semester senior year, Molly posted on FaceBook that she was pregnant with her boyfriend's child. This was the first time her family found out about her child, let alone her boyfriend. It was hard for everyone in the family, especially my Aunt Betsy (Molly's mother). She was so frustrated with Molly and her boyfriend; she hardly spoke to Molly initially. Eventually, she acclimated to the situation.

Molly graduated that spring. She decided to marry her boyfriend soon after. As mentioned, he was out of school and needed to make money for the impending birth of his son. He sold baseball hats to make money and saved it to eventually support his family. Molly, too, needed to work. She got a retail job to bring in quick money for her son. The couple was very nervous about the near future, neither of them had a ton of money to help support and raise their child. Furthermore, Molly still had to pay off her student loans from college. Our entire family did our best to stand by Molly and support her in any way possible.

After the marriage, their son, Cooper, was born. Everything was seemingly going as smooth as it could have gone for the first year of marriage. Then, not even six months later, Molly's husband suddenly left her and Cooper alone, leaving no support or further communication to his family.

This was extremely hard for Molly. She currently lives in North Carolina as a single mother, surrounded by no family, and works incredibly hard to support and raise her baby boy. She loves him endlessly, and he does, as well. Everything that Molly does is for her son; she is an incredibly dedicated mother that wants nothing but the best for her only son.

A direct quote from Molly's Instagram post of Cooper reads: "My hope is that he will remember Mommy tried. Even when she was tired, even when she was stressed. I hope he will know I did it all for him. That I had every intention of being great, good, and grand, but some days all I could be was okay."

 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

I went and saw TC Jenna Kravitz on March 14th during MSC office hours. At this time, I had not finished the entire proposal. I had my proposal, newsletter, statistics, impacts, and solutions. Jenna said I was on track for a great proposal. Because my proposal was not complete, she could not offer specific advice on how to improve my proposal. Yet, she said I need to take into account all suggestions that students would start posting on my page starting on the 17th. She explained how I should really have one of the solutions down to the exact detail - including logistics, structure, funding, etc. With what I had present in that meeting, Jenna was extremely satisfied with the thought process and breakdown of my proposal.

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

I talked to the TCs and Professor Fahy about my proposal. From my meeting with Professor Fahy, I gained a lot of great info on where to go with my proposal next. He advised me to do research on success stories of these types of proposals. I stumbled upon mental health ones in regards to New York and Virginia. From this, I can see what they did right and how these movements got other people to back and support their cause. Furthermore, I could search for mistakes that were made, eradicating similar ones from my proposal. It is research like this that I found myself reading of legitimate success stories like the NASN Organization (https://www.nasn.org/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-sexual-health). There were many of these, however, and I just tried to mirror the best parts of all of them into my proposal. A few more successful organizations: 

http://recapp.etr.org/recapp/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.YouthSkillsDetail&PageID=8

http://www.amchp.org/programsandtopics/AdolescentHealth/Archive/Pages/Science-Based-Approach.aspx

Because these awesome organizations accomplished what I am trying to, I reached out to them. I got very little help from their responses. It was more advantageous to see how they pinpointed their respective problems and found a solution that people could rally around. Their email responses provided little inside information or advice as an aspiring student attempting to do something along the same lines that they did.

Lastly, my consulatations were very long and detailed. I believe these directly correlated stories add strength and a ton of emotion to this topic and my proposal as a whole.

 

 

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS....Michigan has the 5th most teen pregnancies out of the 12 Midwestern states

WHEREAS....Michigan aborts thousands of babies annually due to teen pregnancy

WHEREAS....Michigan teen pregnancies can divide families due to the implications of a child

WHEREAS...Michigan does not require sexual education in their schools

WHEREAS...Schools with sex ed do not have to cover the topic of consent

WHEREAS...The infamous "talk" with parents does not suffice

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. By mandating the Department of Education in Michigan to require the implementation of sexual education in all of the state's schools

2. Having an educational course mirrored to "DARE" to educate young men and women about the gravity of teen pregnancy and everything that could come with it (abortion, school dropouts, financial agony, STDs).

3. Advertise safe sex. Advertise what comes with a child, the good and the bad. Spread the knowledge to a community passing by with billboards, posters, radio commercials, and more. The sex ed targets the individual, while this targets a community as a whole.

4. More programs like "generation her," a foundation that helps and supports teen mothers. Young adults going through this cannot accomplish this feat alone, and ridicule only makes it worse. There should be foundations like this in every state that allows teen parents to go to for any type of support necessary ------> (http://www.generationher.org/).

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. If both the teen pregnancy rate and abortion rate are going down in Michigan, why is this proposal even necessary? Shouldn't we just keep everything as it is right now?

2. Schools and teachers have structure to their classrooms and curriculums. Wouldn't having a class like this throw off the flow of the curriculum? How do you know Michigan's schools have time for this?

3. If there were a ton of programs that supported teen mothers, then wouldn't all the support make it seem totally okay and not hard to have a child at this age? With all of this help, maybe people would think of teen pregnancy as a lesser deal because of all the support a teen mother receives. This is the last thing we need. 

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

The proposal, financially speaking, is more than feasible. This only makes the proposal more attractive and  For schools that use DARE, having their speakers come in and educate the children is relatively inexpensive. Paying 1-2 speakers for, let's say, a one-week course, is not pricy by any means. Furthermore, even if there were high costs, this is not somewhere to start penny pinching. The funding comes directly from taxpayers, as does the funding for all things in the public schooling system. Taxpayers that send their children to private schools would be opposed to doing this; they would likely be very mad if the taxes were raised in order to fund the course. Thankfully, as stated, this would be unnecessary due to the low costs of the proposal. 

The only other cost for this proposal is the opportunity cost of time. Of course, the time for a sexual education course could be used elsewhere. However, much like the cost, this is an unbelievably benefical utilization of time; I feel as if this topic is too important to not address in an academic setting.

 

References:

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.

https://dare.org/michigan/

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(kehipls3tw402gnnz5mgmrzy))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-Act-687-of-2002&query=on&highlight=abortion

https://law.justia.com/codes/michigan/2014/chapter-333/statute-act-687-of-2002/section-333.1073/

https://people.com/human-interest/family-portrait-people-tv-vianna-family/

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Total votes: 20

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