16&P (pt.2): Plan B, dads, escalating emotional abuse

The 16 and Pregnant “Life after Labor” special wasn’t as good as last season — with 10 people to interview this season, as opposed to six last season, the interviews were mostly superficial, short and left a lot to be desired. Although, with the shorter interviews, Dr. Drew had less time for his usual “get-the-teen-moms-to-admit-they-live-awful-lives-now” routine.

Because a lot of the interviews reiterated themes and topics mentioned throughout the season, a lot of the show content has already been discussed. But a few points that are worth mentioning are the morning-after pill, pregnant teens and biological fathers, the risks that follow going back to emotionally abusive partners.

1. The morning-after pill. When Dr. Drew asked Nicole and Tyler if they were using contraception, they said they were only using condoms. When Dr. Drew asked if they had emergency contraception — the morning-after pill — Nicole responded that she thought the morning-after pill was like abortion. It’s a common misconception that the morning-after is an abortion pill, so let’s clear it up right now.

The morning-after pill is NOT an abortion pill. If the sperm has fertilized to the egg and already attached itself to the uterine wall, the pill can’t do anything about that. The morning-after pill is different from the abortion pill, RU-486 or mifepristone, which prevents the hormone progesterone from being made and consequently causes the uterine line to break down, which ends the pregnancy.

UPDATE/FYI: The abortion pill is not a single-dose treatment — you take the mifepristone, and then you take misoprostol within three days of the first pill to empty the uterus, followed by a check-up with your doctor. Without ensuring the uterus is empty, bacterial infections and subsequently death can occur, as was the case with four women in California who did not take the second pill, which is the course of treatment approved by the FDA.

The morning after pill works in a few ways to prevent egg fertilization — its first method of defense is to prevent ovulation so that an egg isn’t released; its second method is to thicken the mucus lining of the cervix so that it’s more difficult for the sperm to get through and meet with the egg; its third method is to thin the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for the egg to attach to the uterine wall.

You can get the morning after pill over the counter; you cannot get the abortion pill over the counter. Emergency contraception, like they say in the commercials, isn’t meant to end a pregnancy that has already started — it’s purpose is to make fertilization more difficult and prevent a pregnancy from starting. If you think birth control is inherently abortion, like some antiabortion-believers do, than I understand why it would be associated with abortion.

Nicole was planning on starting birth control, so I don’t think she’d fall into the “every-type-of-birth-control-is-abortion-because-eggs-and-sperm-are-people-too” category.

2. Pregnant teens and biological fathers. I felt uneasy when Dr. Drew asked everyone who had a biological father in their lives to raise their hand — not only because it singled out those whose dads had left their families, but it singled out the two adopted teens who both had adoptive fathers. It begs the question of whether you need a biological father or just a father figure.

It also begs the question of whether it matters how you lost your father. The first assumption would be that the fathers walked out on their families — but this isn’t the case with all the girls who are without a father. For instance, Nicole’s father died when she was two years old. So if you take out of the equation the girls who had adoptive fathers and the girl whose father died, then you are left with only four out of the 10 whose fathers walked out on them.

I only highlight this because I think Dr. Drew was trying to insinuate that all these girls — by not having their biological fathers in their lives — shared a similar experience. Yes, technically seven of the girls are without biological fathers, but it’s slightly skewed if you don’t take into account that three of those seven don’t fall into the perceived “dad abandoned them” category.

3. Emotionally abusive partners. Another thing that made me uneasy was how many of the teens continued to get back together with their babies’ fathers, even though the relationships were toxic and emotionally abusive. Both Chelsea and Nikkole admitted that they continued to go back with their babies’ fathers even though the guys were emotionally abusive.

Chelsea’s ex sent her degrading text messages all the time, and the worst one on the show was this:

no i want u to feel like the most worthless stupid **** in the world u better beleive [sic] its so over for the rest of ourlives ya fat stretch mark bitch tell me where and wen [sic] to sign the papers over for that mistake

Chelsea admitted that this text wasn’t even the worst of the abuse, which is really frightening. After he sent her this text, she continued to try to make things work despite continual break-ups. Finally, she said she was through with him and that they didn’t talk anymore.

Nikkole, despite the fact that her ex Josh was controlling, immature, manipulative, and broke up with her specifically to be with other girls, still wanted to make it work. When Jenelle asked her why she wanted to make it work, Nikkole didn’t have that inspiring of a response. On the special, Josh was visibily still immature and rude. But, Dr. Drew made an interesting point — emotional (including verbal) abuse can often turn into physical abuse.

This is an extremely important piece of information, especially for teenage girls — who are young, naive, and impressionable — to know. It is especially concerning because emotional abusers often use taking away children as a powerful form of emotional abuse. Emotional abusers seek control and power, and inviting them repeatedly back into your life is trouble, and they will use your child as a pawn to get what they want. In a way, Jenelle is emotionally abusive to her mother because she constantly threatens to take the baby away and never come back if her mother doesn’t do what she says.

Though they are just teenagers now, trying to keep the toxic relationship alive will get more dangerous as time goes on. The abuse will get worse, and it often escalates into physical violence. Every time that guy does something terrible and still is wanted by that teen mom, he gets more and more power and will feel able to do worse and worse things without repercussion.

Also, I could see how the abusive relationships could be construed as these girls clinging to a male figure, but Chelsea has a very prominent male figure in her life. Her (biological, no less) dad plays a very important role in her life. It’s not as easy as saying their actions are symptomatic of single parenting or growing up without a male role model or something along those lines.


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One Response to “16&P (pt.2): Plan B, dads, escalating emotional abuse”

  1. Texting provides dangerous outlet for dating violence « i, sandwich Says:

    […] violence, I was immediately reminded of an episode of 16 and Pregnant in which Chelsea received the following text message from Adam, her on-again-off-again boyfriend and the father of her baby: no i want u to feel like the […]

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