I actually have some sympathy for the ultrasound technician in Juno
, who expresses relief that the 16 year old will be adopting out her baby and is jumped on for saying that the teen mothers she's seen provide a 'toxic environment' for their offspring. Simply put, and not only do I agree, but I don't think it's a controversial point of view, children shouldn't have children. I think irresponsible pregnancy is morally dubious if not wrong, and teenage pregnancies are usually, if not always, irresponsible ones. Also that age of consent laws are there for a reason; under a certain age - where chronological age is used as a very rough
proxy for emotional and intellectual maturity - a person is not suitably equipped to make important decisions for themselves.
Having said that, of course, teenagers are damn well people
, and in theory at least, own their own bodies and their own actions, and deserve to be treated as such.
That Chantelle Steadman had a daughter at the age of 15 is, in my absolutely irrelevant opinion, a shame and a bad idea and I would have liked the event to have been avoided. But what makes me shakingly angry is the way Aidan Radnedge reported the event in today's Metro
In ten short paragraphs, Chantelle is the subject of exactly 0 sentences, and the object of two, as three boys, including the real object of the article, 13 year old Alfie Patten, all 'claim to be the father' of baby Maisie. References to opinions held or choices made by Chantelle: 0. Opinions offered by people not Chantelle: the three potential fathers; Chantelle's parents (who, I kid you not - gave "consent" for one boy to sleep with their daughter*); one other putative grandparent, Iain Duncan Smith =m Tony Kerridge of Marie Stopes, and a random Catholic Priest - who apparently thinks all this is fabulous.
Anyone who dares suggest to me today that women have bodily autonomy is getting punched in the face. I do still have autonomy over my fist, after all.
*In case you were wondering, let me assure you, consent laws in the UK DO NOT WORK THAT WAY
ETA: I apparently got Chantelle's name wrong. Not sure why.