When we talk about how teenager parents don’t do as well as older parents we need to consider stories like these. Teenagers are just as capable as older parents of loving and caring for their children, but when society tells them from the day they become pregnant that they are incapable, unworthy, and must be punished these messages are internalized. We, as a society, set teenage mothers/parents up for failure and then when they struggle we say, “See we told you so. You’re no good.” This law is a prime example of a system hell-bent on undermining teenage parents.
In Ohio, people under 18 who are in labor cannot consent to their own health care. They can receive emergency services, but nothing considered to be elective. For the many Ohio minors who become pregnant, it’s a painful gap in coverage.
Both Cackovic and Sweeney report that, just as frequently, they’ve had cases where the mothers intentionally denied their teenage daughters an epidural – as a sort of punishment for getting pregnant.