When I was in middle-school, I started reading Teen Vogue. Many of my friends did too. Our local library had them in the “young adult section,” frequently pursued by kids as young as ten or twelve.
Usually, we just flipped the pages looking at the glossy images of fashion models. But occasionally, we read some of their articles, looking for guidance on what it meant to be a teenager, what we should be doing to get boys to like us, and what we should aspire to.
Teen Vogue just published “What to Get a Friend Post-Abortion,” an article slideshow to tell young teens about how to care for a friend who gets an abortion.
“So your friend is about to have an abortion. Of course you want to be there for her, but you don’t know how,” the article, not attributed to any staff writer, begins.
The article, correctly, tells its young audience that there is stigma surrounding abortion. But it doesn’t say why (i.e: the destruction of a life).
“Abortion is something that many women feel like they can’t talk about, even amongst themselves, which creates a false stigma,” it reads.
Regardless of your political affiliation, teaching young teens that the concern surrounding abortion is a “false stigma” is a confusing message. Societies have cultural norms. Stigmas exist for a reason. They serve a purpose.
The article makes the implicit suggestion that pregnant teens simply have no other option: abortion is the only way.
“But she shouldn’t have to feel ashamed, because she made the right choice for her situation,” it continues. “She is not ready to carry a pregnancy to term — and that’s OK.”
There is no suggestion in the article that a pregnant teen could carry a baby to term and chose to become a mother. There is also no suggestion that instead of aborting the child, the young mother could have the kid and then give it up for adoption into a loving home.
Abortion is the only way, Teen Vogue seems to suggest.
Last year, Teen Vogue did publish at least one article on what a teen could do to help her teen friend who becomes pregnant. Even in this article, abortion is suggested as an option.
“There’s often a lot of stigma associated with this decision, in particular around talking about abortion. It’s totally fine to just ask, ‘Do you think you want to get an abortion?’” the writer, Lena Solow, writes.
In Teen Vogue’s new post-abortion gift guide, they suggest that teens buy their friends an “angry uterus heating pad” for potential cramps, a “GRL PWR” [Girl Power] baseball cap, a metal pin with the image of a uterus flipping her middle finger, and a Ruth Bader Ginsberg feminist coloring book.
It also suggests that the teenager become an abortion clinic volunteer escort.
“Now that you know all the ways to get through this ordeal, why don’t you make it a little easier for the next girl and sign up to be an abortion clinic escort,” the magazine advises.
What Teen Vogue doesn’t suggest?
Giving your friend condoms, encouraging her to learn about birth control, and teaching her about Plan B, which can be used the day after unprotected sex to stop a pregnancy before it starts.