Mother May I?
Regarding Jennifer Merrill’s recent cover story about getting pregnant at 18:
Thank you for printing this amazing and heartfelt article. This article will help
people who have been in this situation, children who were adopted and anyone who thinks
they can judge the decisions made by woman in this situation. I have no doubt Jennifer
Merrill will be a successful journalist and will make the right decision for her and her
Plenty of teenagers in this city get pregnant every day. Some of them will be forced
to abort the baby for lack of money or support. Why are we treating this one case as
news? Because she’s white? Because she’s pretty enough to put on the cover? Because she
was narcissistic enough to think that her story is compelling and decided to write about
A pregnant teenager is not news. This is a sanitized version of an everyday event and
a pity party thrown by a member of a demographic that PW desperately
wants reading their paper masquerading as something newsworthy.
If this is really what we have to accept as content these days, you could at least do
us the favor of having an editor look at the story or make it an “as told to” deal and
let someone who can actually string words together to make a sentence relate the
melodrama to us. This article is cliche-ridden, overwrought and trying far too hard to
be “writerly.” The cover of a product that’s going to be consumed by an audience is not
the place to hold amateur hour. We readers deserve much better than this.
Jennifer Merrill is a brave young lady. As a young woman myself, the thoughts of
pregnancy are more than a little overwhelming. I’m sure it was hard for her to get a
positive perspective, but she has proven that unexpectancies in life can be shockingly
happy discoveries in the end. Merrill may be young but her mental strength is inspiring.
To think that she is making such a weighty decision during this time of her life may be
unfortunate in many ways considering the finance, time and attention needed for a child
in addition to our already hectic and stressful lives as students, but from this story I
have faith she will be able to make the right decisions for herself and baby.
Not to sound heartless, but this is nothing compared to what some people go through.
How about the teenagers who get pregnant and their parents abandon them? I don’t see why
this is newsworthy and I am offended that this story is being glorified while so many
are out there with zero support and no one cares to tell their story.
This story is beautifully written and one that touches the heart whether you have ever
been in a similar situation or not. I think it’s great that PW is
looking to the next generation to contribute. I mean, do we really need another story
about the economy or housing crisis? Merrill may not have the writing ability that
someone who’s been in the business for 20 years does, but I think her article is amazing
Not to disparage the young author and mother (I wish her the best of luck in the
choices she decides are best for her and her child), but this is not a realistic view of
the lives of most teen parents. Because she’s white, pretty and middle class, it’s
I’m also a little turned off by the seemingly anti-choice vibe this article gave me.
Certainly it wouldn’t make for a newsworthy story if she had chosen to terminate her
pregnancy. Society puts so much shame and secrecy around abortion; it’s really unfair. I
respect the choice she made, but the fact is she had a choice. We never focus or write
articles about the similarly brave women who choose not to carry to
term for their own reasons. The section about abortion seemed to demonize the act, not
discuss it as a viable choice for many people.
Jennifer Merrill has written an important and engaging article. She and her family are
dealing with her unplanned pregnancy with courage and thoughtful pursuit of facts, in
order to make the best decision possible for the child involved. To complicate this
decision, as she has so eloquently expressed in her article, her choice cannot be made
by rational thinking alone; this is a decision that will be influenced by the heart.
This story raises awareness about the important issues of unplanned pregnancy,
abortion, adoption and responsible decision-making. The writer’s story is enhanced by
the authenticity of her young age, voice and demographic.
Whatever Merrill chooses to do, once
her choice is made, I hope that she will have peace of mind and spirit in the
knowledge that she made the right choice, and go forward with self-confidence into the
rest of her life.
My main concern over the article about a young teenage mother’s experience with an
unplanned pregnancy is that Philadelphia Weekly has been conned into
putting forth a pro-life perspective veiled in a human interest story. The young writer
should be commended, along with the thousands of others across the country in similar
situations, for confronting her situation and exploring her options and feelings, and as
someone who is pro-choice, I fully support her decision to continue with the pregnancy.
But PW owes its readers a better explanation for how this article came
about and why it chose to publish such a piece.
While abortion is never something to be celebrated, it is a viable option for women in
her situation, yet all the tell-tale signs of someone who has been co-opted by the
pro-life establishment are pretty clear within the article—but they aren’t explored in
any detail. If publishing this article was an attempt to create dialogue about the
politics of the abortion debate, fine, make that clear. By not addressing this issue in
any meaningful way, it leaves the reader suspicious of the fact that PW
has been used as a pawn in a very serious debate that continues to captivate
the country. At the very least, readers deserve an opposing point of view.
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