Maybe because they've been busy celebrating the unplanned pregnancy that helped start it all, but the response has been relatively muted. Blogger Jill Stanek has spearheaded the criticism, picked up by LifeNews and, in a dutiful turn today, The New York Post.
The charges: That no "pro-life" groups were invited to partner with the show, though groups like the wildly radical National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Planned Parenthood were. (The critics don't mention this, but the most visible group involved, Exhale, takes a studiously apolitical position — they call themselves "pro-voice," which sounds like a whitewashed neologism until you realize they're doing it so women from all political and religious backgrounds feel comfortable calling for non-judgmental counseling after their experiences.)
Also, Stanek charges that there is "false and dangerous contraceptive propaganda" linked from the show's site. Let's take a look at what she means. There's a screengrab from a pre-existing site, It's Your Sex Life, that's also tied into 16 & Pregnant. Here's the complete array of choices.
Stanek faults the MTV site for not including information on the failure rate of condoms, which she puts at 17 percent according to Guttmacher. Except for the part of the site where they do ("What Works," and then "What Doesn't") at least when it comes to preventing pregnancy.
But let's just say that a typical teenager couldn't find that part of the site, as Stanek couldn't. It's true that the Guttmacher chart has that figure, for "typical" use of the male condom. For "perfect" use, the failure rate drops to 2 percent. Clearly, the solution to improper use of condoms is not to give anyone information on how to use them properly — or at all. That'll certainly get the number of unplanned pregnancies and STDs down.
So far, very few people have seen No Easy Decision. What sort of documentary special would pro-lifers approve of? One where red letters appear across the screen declaring that teenagers should never have had sex in the first place? Where the girls are told to make lemons out of lemonade? Where, after their abortions, they're made to talk about how much they regret their choices? Thankfully, MTV thought better of it and (apparently) chose to live in the reality-based world instead.
By the way, Stanek suggests opponents of abortion make their feelings known via the Twitter hashtags the partner groups set up to show support for the girls through a difficult time: #16andloved, #WMCwatchin, and #provoice. The only way to prevent them from drowning out that message is to get in there tonight.
'16 And Pregnant' Abort Show Furor [NYP]
Biased MTV Reality Show No Easy Decision Features Abortion [LifeNews]
MTV Partnered With Pro-Abortion Groups For Abortion Reality Special [Jill Stanek]
It's Your Sex Life [MTV]
MTV Airing Teen Abortion Special