Talk:Teenage pregnancy

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Please don't take offence anyone. I'm just looking at bits that could make the article better. These are just my observations and opinions. So don't feel I am picking holes just to be nasty!

Human it just me or does it make us sound like farm animals? Would it be better if it was simply "pregnancy in girls aged 13 to 19" ? Or would those aged over 18 object to being called "girls" ? Does "pregnancy in women aged 13 to 19" sound better? Or is "women" the wrong term too? I think "pregnancy in girls and women aged 13 to 19" is too long winded. What are your thoughts?

WhatamIdoing Why do we need to have "...under the age of 20 at the time that the pregnancy ends? To me if someone is pregnant at 19 they are a pregnant teenager irrespective of whether or not they are still pregnant when they become 20. Felann96 (talk) 19:37, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

We need to have this fact on the page so that people will know what these statistics represent. These statistics do not include women who get pregnant shortly before their 20th birthday. The statistics on teen pregnancy are collected pretty uniformly throughout the world as being under the age of 20 at the exact date that the pregnancy ends. If it's helpful, here's a worked example for a woman who conceived at the age of 19 years and 6 months:
  • If she miscarries at one month (19 years, 7 months): pregnant teen
  • If she has an induced abortion at two months (19 years, 8 months): pregnant teen
  • If she has an extremely preterm birth at five and a half months (19 years, 11 and a half months): pregnant teen
  • If she has a full-term birth at nine months (20 years, 3 months): not a pregnant teen.
A minority of studies (but not, AFAICT, any official reports) attempt to estimate the likely due date for elective abortions and classify them according to the date at the natural end. This has statistical value because it reduces the systemic bias if you're comparing abortions to births. Otherwise, all the abortions end up being an average of seven months younger than the births.
I suspect that the main reasons for this system are primarily practical: It's much easier to verify the date that the pregnancy ends than to find out when conception occurred. It's probably also based on the idea that society has a stronger and more legitimate interest in the ultimate result (a baby that is going to need food, clothing, shelter, and education) than in the mother's private sexual activity. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:00, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

If a 19 year old is pregnant how would you know if she is a pregnant teenager? Felann96 (talk) 12:41, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

How would you know if she's pregnant at all?
If a woman turns 20 during the pregnancy, is that still a "teenage pregnancy"?
It doesn't really matter what seems reasonable to you. This is what the sources say: a woman who is 19 when the pregnancy starts, but 20 when it ends, is not counted as having a teenage pregnancy. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:52, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
As stated in the #Are the opening paragraphs (up to contents) too drawn out and elaborate? section above, there is now a Definition section that addresses what WhatamIdoing means by "under 20" on this matter. Flyer22 (talk) 17:24, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

I still prefer the literal meaning of Teenage Pregnancy. Although I agree that dates when pregnancies end are easier to verify than dates of conception, many surveys of teenage pregnancies do in fact use estimated dates when conception occurred in their studies. Also most surveys of teenage pregnancies only include girls aged over 15 in their statistics.Felann96 (talk) 01:10, 16 October 2013 (UTC) Here are links which show that the UK government still use estimated dates of conception in their statistics : Felann96 (talk) 22:27, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Teenage pregnancy should be simply be about teenagers that are pregnant. I cannot see the need for such a precise definition for a general article of the subject. AlwynJPie (talk) 21:56, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Most people understand teenage pregnancy as being about teenagers that are pregnant. There is no need to complicate the meaning for an article like this. AlwynJPie (talk) 22:38, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

What complication are you referring to? You object to the "under the age of 20 at the time that the pregnancy ends" wording? You object to the Definition section? Plenty of Wikipedia articles have a Definition section. Having one in this article is valid, given what is discussed in it. Flyer22 (talk) 22:45, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Flyer22. What right has Wikipedia to define the meaning of the article Teenage Pregnancy to exclude teenagers that were pregnant at 19 because their pregnancy did not end until they were 20 just because a specific method of collecting statistics uses the age of when pregnancy ends (which is done purely for the convenience of data gathering)? There are many pregnant 19 year olds that have issues in relation to their pregnancies whether their pregnancy ends when they are still 19 or continues until they are 20. AlwynJPie (talk) 23:18, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

It may not be as practical when it comes to collecting data, but I think this article should be about all those that are pregnant under 20. The age they are when their pregnancy ends should not be part of the article definition. AlwynJPie (talk) 04:55, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

If there is no objection I will change the definition to so that it includes any pregnant teenager. AlwynJPie (talk) 22:35, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

AlwynJPie, of course there is an objection. You can see that above. People not responding to you does not automatically mean that they don't object to what you are stating. It can mean that they are tired of debating this topic. If you want WhatamIdoing's attention on this matter, there I've pinged her via WP:Echo in this paragraph. But I think that this article/talk page is still on her WP:Watchlist. Flyer22 (talk) 22:45, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Flyer22. Do you have any opinions on this? AlwynJPie (talk) 23:31, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

I don't know about Flyer22, but I certainly do: the definition in the article should correspond to the definition used in the sources the article uses.—Kww(talk) 23:55, 27 November 2014 (UTC)

Something doesn't feel right to me about not including all pregnant teenagers in the article. I realise older teenagers are less likely to have problems in relation to pregnancy than younger ones, but some twenty-year-olds are still not fully mature. AlwynJPie (talk) 02:09, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

"Wikipedia" isn't asserting the right to define anything. Wikipedia is accurately reporting what published WP:Reliable sources say that the definition is, according to the agencies that have actually been using that definition, in some cases for more than a century, in all of these statistics. If you don't like the definition, because it doesn't match up with your interpretation of the name, then your next step needs to be contacting several thousand government agencies and convincing them that a woman who gets pregnant the night before her 20th birthday ought to be counted as a "teenage pregnancy", rather than complaining that we're accurately reporting their definition.
Your personal beliefs about the likelihood of a 20 year old being emotional mature are irrelevant. When they made up this definition, the issue in their minds had nothing to do with emotions, and everything to do with medical complications and economic power. In fact, they were concerned not about "teenage pregnancy" so much as they were concerned with "teenage motherhood": It wasn't really about whether teens were having sex (because more of them were married or engaged to be married back then, so sexual activity was expected). It was about whether they and their babies were going to live or die, and whether they would end up being charity cases. (Also, they thought that 20 year olds were mature, and that even 16 year olds ought to be able to run a household on their own. This was back when an 8th grade education was considered enough for most people, and when children were economically productive by age 10 or 12.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:45, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Because "it's much easier to verify the date that the pregnancy ends than to find out when conception occurred" should not bear any influence on the definition of this article. Because pregnancies in 19-year-olds that don't end until they are 20 are not counted in the statistics, does not mean they were not pregnant teenagers. Please show WP:Reliable sources to some of the "several thousand government agencies" that you claim define teenage pregnancy in the way you say. AlwynJPie (talk) 02:04, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

The fact that "it's much easier to verify the date that the pregnancy ends than to find out when conception occurred" is exactly why, in the 19th century, those now-dead white men came up with that definition. Remember, they started these statistics back when people honestly believed that a pregnancy could last for over a year, or that a healthy baby could be delivered in an unusually short period of time, and when women had every reason in the world to insist that they'd never had sex until their wedding nights (or when their husbands were gone for months due to military service, etc).
As for supplying sources, if you read either the article or the archives, you'll find that I already have. I notice that you haven't supplied a single source to back up your folk etymology that says a woman who gets pregnant on the night before her 20th birthday is a "teenage mother", though. Maybe you should spend some time looking for sources that use alternative definitions? If you don't want to read a bunch of scholarly articles (like I did), then another option for you is to write to the Guttmacher Institute and request their help in understanding the definition that is used for statistics. The contact link is Of course, they're just going to tell you the same thing that I did, but perhaps you'll like it better if you hear it from them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:18, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

A reminder to AGF, everyone, and civilly explain which definition has sourced support. Have some tea? American Barbarian | talk 02:39, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Americanbarbarian, how long have you been editing Wikipedia? I mean, before or after the American Barbarian account that you created on July 14, 2011? It's easy for me to see, looking at your relatively few contributions, and how you are already familiar with WP:AGF, that you are significantly familiar with editing Wikipedia. Also, there's no need to ping me to this talk page via WP:Echo, if you reply to me here. And, yes, I'd prefer that you reply to me here, not on my talk page, about this. Flyer22 (talk) 03:09, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I only recently decided to start editing actively. Still feeling my way around. I created my account a few years ago and let it gather dust for a while. I just noticed this conversation in recent changes and thought it was getting a bit heated - but that might just be me. American Barbarian | talk 03:22, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

Thanks WhatamIdoing for your reply. I agree it is easier to obtain accurate dates of when a pregnancy ends compared to when a pregnancy starts but a pregnant 19 year old should be regarded as a pregnant teenager irrespective of whether that pregnancy ends when she is still 19 or lasts until she is 20. Methods used to obtain statistical information on a subject should have no baring on the definition of that subject. I have not been able to obtain sourced support for the definition of teenage pregnancy from your links or elsewhere. AlwynJPie (talk) 03:05, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Have you been able to find any definitions yet, or have you not progressed that far? I know that it's not actually the easiest thing to find on the web, so I'll help you out:
Go to the article page and scroll down to the section ==Definition==. See the little blue [9]? Click that. You don't even need to read the source, because I've provided a direct quotation, which includes an exact, complete, word-for-word copy of their definition. Read the words, especially the ones at the end, which say, "women who conceived at age 19 had their births or abortions after they turned 20...were not counted as teenagers".
I don't care whether women conceiving before their 20th birthdays "should be" regarded as teenage mothers. I care whether they "actually are" regarded as pregnant teenagers by the WP:reliable sources (e.g., not by the high school students who frequent this page). As you can see from this quotation, they "actually are not" regarded as pregnant teens, no matter what you or anyone else believes. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:35, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Because some women that were pregnant at 19 are not included in some statistics does not mean they should not be regarded as having been pregnant teenagers. AlwynJPie (talk) 17:20, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

It's not "some statistics". It's "all statistics".
If you want this changed, then you need to find a high-quality WP:Reliable source (i.e., not your own idea of what the words "ought" to mean) and present it here. Until then, we really cannot make the change you propose. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:24, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

A very strange formulation.[edit]

At the end of the second paragraph of Causes-->General, the wiki states "Some teenage girls have said to be pressured into having sex with their boyfriends at a young age, and yet no one taught teens how to deal with this pressure or to say "no".[51]"

I don't fully understand how the final part of this sentence constitutes wiki-material. It does not seem particularly encyclopedic and it almost seems a personal opinion. This said, I cannot think of how to possibly salvage this. Any suggestions?

Also, now that I've started looking through this article, the final line of the Prevention-->United Kingdom section is a) out of date, b) not sourced and c) looks like pure opinion ("There are questions about whether the 2010 target of a 50% reduction on 1998 levels can be met.") I don't even know where to start looking for this data...

--Hentheden (talk) 10:11, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. I removed the first sentence that you mentioned entirely while doing a general copyedit of the article; similar sentiments are expressed far more articulately in other parts of the page. I've gone ahead and removed the second sentence you mentioned as well, because I had similar concerns about it. Graham87 06:44, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Excellent editing Graham! I didn't realize that there were so many errors until I looked at the changes that you made. Felann96 (talk) 01:38, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

RFC on including or excluding Mary, Mother of Jesus[edit]

Closing per request. Consensus was opposed to including Mary in the article as an example of a teenage mother. Opposition was based on a number of grounds-- perhaps the most compelling argument was that because the social ideas and attitudes related to teenage pregnancy are contemporary, few of which are particularly relevant in the case of Mary. Opposition based on claims that Jesus and/or Mary were fictional are not particularly relevant here and were discounted. The authenticity of people or events are not the subject of this RfC. While there's no doubt that the birth of Jesus is a famous and sacred event, its fame in the context of teenage pregnancy has not been sufficiently demonstrated. I, JethroBT drop me a line 22:20, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Teenage pregnancy#History previously named Mary, Mother of Jesus as an example of a teenage mother. Scholars believe that she was probably about 13 when when she gave birth to Jesus. It has been opposed because "it is difficult to establish that Jesus actually existed (our article citing Christians who believe in his existence not withstanding)". Should this article mention Mary, Mother of Jesus? WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:56, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Original text and source[edit]

(This is the original text and source, but please remember that the question is whether this article should mention Mary, Mother of Jesus at all, not whether it should be done in exactly this way.)

Perhaps the most famous teenage pregnancy in history was Mary, Mother of Jesus. She is generally believed to have been 13 years old when she gave birth to Jesus.[1] Other sources place her age as high as 15 years.[citation needed]

  1. ^ Hazleton, Lesley (2005). Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother. Bloomsbury USA. pp. 20–25. ISBN 1-58234-475-2. 


  • I support inclusion. IMO, a neutral article will mention the most famous teenage birth in history, in addition to a handful of royal births and modern celebrities. This birth is commonly listed among famous pregnancies (e.g., here). The lead of Jesus says that "Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that a historical Jesus existed" and NPOV means going with whatever the large mass of scholars say, not going with only what scholars who meet some sort of religious test say.
    I'd also support the addition of more and/or better sources. As noted in early discussions at the top of this page, no one has found any reliable sources that place Mary's age higher than 16, and that 13 is the most common age given (because, as explained at length in the cited source, that was the typical age for a first birth in the culture, and modern scholars tend to assume that Mary was typical). WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:56, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
From the review of the book on, "This unusual biography blends imagination and fact in an exquisitely told tale about the most reveled and admired woman of Christianity. Hazleton has been criticized for blurring the lines between research and fiction. (It's true--she does.) Nonetheless, she weaves an outstanding interpretation of this Palestinian girl, who probably went by the name of Maryam and gave birth to "the son of God" at the age of 13." Perhaps there is a better source, say from a biblical scholar? The author claims Mary was an unwed, pregnant teenager, but the rabbi who taught our Greek class told us that the Jewish custom of what we would call a betrothel was a marriage not yet consumated. She may be another Dan Brown. (talk) 21:29, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion obviously, as "the most famous teenage birth in history". The objection noted above is a ridiculous one, considering that most modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. This agreement has nothing to do with faith commitments. It should also be pointed out that this has nothing to do with the virgin- or otherwise nature of the birth. StAnselm (talk) 00:33, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion and move to strike an appeal to Christ myth theory as WP:FRINGE. Elizium23 (talk) 00:57, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Whatever evidence there may be about the existence of Jesus does not extend to historical evidence about the details of his birth or his parentage. The lead of Jesus is irrelevant, as we do not use Wikipedia to source itself. Further, the purpose of such an addition is quite dubious. Is it to somehow cast legitimacy on teenage birth? There's no particular reason to do that: teenage birth is quite common today, and I suspect even more common around 0 BC. The very source WhatamIdoing cites indicates that the age is assumed, rather than documented, precisely because 13 was the typical age for first birth in that culture. As for WP:FRINGE, it doesn't apply. It would if I were asking that we make some statement about Christ's historicity: I'm not.—Kww(talk) 01:02, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • While true historical evidence is certainly lacking, there is a vast body of modern and traditional scholarship that agrees Mary was in her teenage years, and this cannot be ignored or dismissed as unreliable. Elizium23 (talk) 01:46, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • It's a question of weight. If it added something of unquestionable value to the article, then it might be reasonable to include it along with some suitable statement about the lack of historical evidence. Since it doesn't add anything that would help the reader understand the topic of teenage pregnancy, the doubts as to its accuracy make it unsuitable for inclusion.—Kww(talk) 03:31, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
But who exactly is doubting its accuracy? StAnselm (talk) 04:10, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Let's see: the source that WhatAmIDoing is using won't commit to an age. Our own article on Mary makes no claim that there is a consensus among historians that Jesus was actually the son of a woman named "Mary", much less that they have any solid evidence as to what age she might have been when she gave birth. If the assumption of 13 is being made because it was "typical" for the time, that both undermines any claim that it is a fact and any significance to the age. If one says "Mary probably gave birth at the age of 13 because that was typical for mothers at the time", that is also saying "There is nothing particularly significant about this birth having taken place at the age of 13." And, although I'm aware people have been banned for pointing it out repetitively, I will again point out that while there is a consensus among Christians and Muslims that Jesus existed, that doesn't mean much.—Kww(talk) 05:51, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
With respect to the last point, people have probably been banned because the statement is deceptive - there is a consensus among historians that Jesus existed. StAnselm (talk) 07:42, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
The last point is a bit of a tangent, and should probably be taken elsewhere. I do, however, anxiously await your list of non-Christian, non-Muslim historians that attest to the historicity of Jesus.—Kww(talk) 13:48, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Both your assertion that Jesus may not have existed, as well as your assertion that Mary may not have been a teenager, are both WP:FRINGE beliefs that do not enjoy the favor of reputable scholarship. Both facts can be easily documented by myriad reliable secondary sources while your objections can only be sustained by citing a short list of certified kooks. Elizium23 (talk) 20:52, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, Christians and Muslims are good examples of sources with excessive bias to treat as being reliable on this topic. As above, I await a list of non-Christian, non-Muslim historians that would verify the historicity of Christ and Mary. That controversy aside, what is the point of adding this information to the article? In what way does it enhance a reader's understanding of the topic of teenage pregnancy?—Kww(talk) 00:23, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
You exhibit a very poor understanding of the concept of WP:V and WP:RS. Bias is inherent in every secondary source, but not anathema to Wikipedia's policies for inclusion. Therefore the outrageously anti-Catholic National Catholic Reporter is accepted on this project as a source for articles about Catholicism, even though it badly misrepresents the faith with malicious intent. Non-Christian, non-Muslim sources are unneeded to support the assertions being made. Christian Biblical scholars are reliable sources for Biblical events because that is their area of expertise. So I don't understand what you are getting at with your opposition to this. Elizium23 (talk) 05:31, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
We are expected to weigh the potential bias of a source with respect to conclusions they have made. Always. I have no argument with the idea that Christians can be reliable sources for the beliefs of their faith. However, when someone considers a thing to be sacred, that's an insurmountable bias in regard to objectively investigating it and coming to conclusions about facts in regard to it. I would not, for example, use a source that believed in crystal healing in an article about quartz. I don't think many editors would, because we would all readily agree that the bias rendered the source excessively suspect. It should be an easy question: there are literally billions of Buddhists and millions of atheists and Jews in the world, and many of them are historians. What is the consensus among them about whether Mary and Jesus are historical figures?—Kww(talk) 01:13, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure that most Christians actually consider Mary to be "sacred". Maybe some Catholics do? Or in a loose sense that anything associated with any religion is sacred?
This atheist blog lists some of the modern scholars. You could see what they say. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:56, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
I have examined similar material, which is why I start from the position that our heavily cherry-picked article aside, there is no consensus that Mary and Jesus actually existed.—Kww(talk) 15:44, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support as consistent with other examples of famous people from antiquity who born to teenaged mothers, referenced in the article. When dealing with ancient history there is always some uncertainty - I don't think it hurts to qualify the statement. —Sigeng (talk) 08:44, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    I believe that this history section is a list of trivia and should be removed, replaced with a better historical as proposed by FiachraByrne below. As such whether or not to include Mary is a moot point. –Sigeng (talk) 00:00, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The article should not mention the fictional character of "Mary, Mother of Jesus", who's the mother of another fictional character as well. Adding controversial items like this to a Wikipedia legitimate article does nothing but make the article look silly. Guy1890 (talk) 00:45, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
    Do you know of any reliable source describing either Jesus or Mary as fictional characters? StAnselm (talk) 00:53, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The inclusion is unnecessary for the article's completeness. The inclusion is proven to be offensive to some editors, and may be offensive to some readers. Since its exclusion does no harm to the article it should be removed. - Amgine (talk) 04:45, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Please acquaint yourself with WP:NOTCENSORED and WP:NPOV. We cannot avoid representing a viewpoint because it may be offensive to some people. Take, for example, the subject of images of Muhammad on Wikipedia. Muslims react violently to seeing these and often remove them in good faith. However they must be retained because Wikipedia does not represent Islam but takes a neutral position and includes relevant encyclopedic information. So the offensiveness of Mary's presence in this article is utterly irrelevant to the criteria for her inclusion. Elizium23 (talk) 05:34, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
      • And, in a return favour, please acquaint yourself with Prof. Strunk's Rule 13, "Omit needless words." The example is unnecessary for the completeness of the article. It is also controversial. The most obvious solution, unless you have some reason or purpose other than informing the reader on the topic of the article, is to remove it. I stand by my opinion to oppose. - Amgine (talk) 21:33, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
        • That really is the key problem here: even if one stipulated that Mary had Jesus as a teenager, what is the value of mentioning it in an article about teenage pregancy?—Kww(talk) 01:20, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
          • I think the value in mentioning it is twofold: importantly, to educate everyone about how teenage motherhood was 100% normal in previous millenia, and less importantly, to educate the many readers who wrongly assumed (probably because of the inaccurate pictures they see in Christmas cards—have you ever seen one that showed Mary as a young teenager?) that Mary was in her 20s. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:56, 8 December 2013 (UTC
            • If mentioning mary's pregnancy were 100% normal, then the inclusion wouldn't be controversial. As it is believed to have been astonishingly abnormal, it is unlikely to have either of the effects you say you believe it might have. The latter case has nothing to do with informing readers about teen pregnancy. The former case, however unlikely it is to have the desired effect, is still unnecessary, and so fails to justify the inclusion. - Amgine (talk) 03:52, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
            • @WAID - depending on one's ideological alignment, that is very laudable but it's not an argument for the inclusion of content. The very concept of the "teenager" is largely anachronistic when applied to the pre-modern era, much less "teenage pregnancy". You need a source-based argument for this addition, and that is utterly lacking here. From what I've observed of your contributions to medical articles, you're an excellent editor. I couldn't imagine you making this kind of proposal if it involved medical content. I would expect you to consult the relevant sources and accurately summarise their findings. I wouldn't expect you to insert your ideological preferences either way. This underlines for me, again, the need for an equivalent to WP:MEDRS in other content areas. FiachraByrne (talk) 11:17, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
    I'm confused - who was offended? Did you mean Christians or Muslims being offended at the thought of Mary having a teen pregnancy, or non-religious people getting offended at the thought of Mary being regarded as a real person? StAnselm (talk) 06:11, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The "issue" of teenage pregnancy - conceived until relatively recently as a social problem - is a modern one as in the pre-modern era teenage pregnancy was the norm. Therefore, I would argue, antique teenage pregnancies are just not salient to the subject of the article. The addition of such historical examples functions as an anachronism and distracts from, rather than illuminates, the article topic. Moreover, the source proposed to support this content is a biography of "Mary"/"VM" - it is not a source that actually treats of the article subject. To present a strong argument for its inclusion I would like to see a good secondary source, preferably by an expert in the field rather than a journalist or the like, whose subject focus is primarily on teen pregnancy and who elects to include VM in a list of relevant examples of notable teen pregnancies. Otherwise this, and frankly the other examples, are bollox and verging on original (and I'd think ill-judged) research conclusions. All in all,however, it's a relatively minor issue in what appears to be a fairly good article. FiachraByrne (talk) 02:32, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry I forgot to say that I came here by way of RFC noticeboard. FiachraByrne (talk) 02:42, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Just as an aside, I'd suggest that if "Mary" is relevant to this article and the construction of teenage pregnancy as a social problem it is her virginity rather than her status as an adolescent that is likely to be most notable, in Catholic countries at least. Also, while you could possibly argue that it is "the most famous birth in history" it is hardly famous for being a teen birth. FiachraByrne (talk) 03:10, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Just a final word. I would advocate the removal of most or all of the current "history" section as it is, for the most part, irrelevant to the topic and largely unsourced. I think the section should be rewritten from sources that discuss the emergence of teenage pregnancy as an identified social problem in some industrialised countries from the 1950s/60s/70s. Some sources that might be relevant include:
The above list is by no means exhaustive. FiachraByrne (talk) 10:35, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
You raised an excellent point regarding removal of the current history section and its replacement with more recent sources rather than specific historical people. It reads like an "in popular culture" section: irrelevant, vaguely related, not contributing to the overall article. I support removing or at least rewriting the history section (at least as a list of famous births). -Sigeng (talk) 22:06, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Thank you and I'm in agreement with you about the typical value of most "in popular culture" sections in WP articles. It would be best if this section were re-written. FiachraByrne (talk) 17:17, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd really like to see the section developed in a direction that clearly explains that "teenage pregnancy" used to be considered perfectly normal everywhere. Until then, I think that listing a few examples is not inappropriate—and more appropriate than failing to address the concept at all. The Mary example might be a perfectly good illustration of that fact: nearly all scholars agree that Mary was a teenage mother precisely because that was normal at the time. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:42, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
It's more complex than that (see the article above on the early-modern period) but wouldn't it be best to include content from sources that actually address the topic of the history of teenage pregnancy in a substantial way rather than rely on your judgement that this instance of teenage pregnancy is relevant to the topic. If this were a medical article you would seek to summarise what the best sources say on the issue, no? Why not apply the same logic here? FiachraByrne (talk) 11:14, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Have you found any decent source that both discusses teenage births two millenia ago and doesn't mention Mary? I haven't (yet, but I've only begun looking, so it's possible that I'll find some). Most of the "history" sources you've listed don't even look back one full century from their publication dates. Providing the "pre-people deciding that teen births were a problem" natural history of pregnancy is relevant here. The history of teenagers giving birth does not begin with the moment when someone decided that they shouldn't. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:16, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you've yet to present a scholarly source that deals substantially with teenage pregnancy in antiquity or even suggests it's a relevant category of discussion. Hazleton is not such a source, or even a particularly reliable source, because: a) its primary subject is Mary and not teenage pregnancy; and b), as your own commentary confirms, it "mixes fact with fiction". The fact that the sources I've listed, while far from exhaustive on the subject, locate teenage pregnancy as a phenomenon in the modern era should be a clue, and is certainly strongly indicative of the history and periodisation that most reliable sources identify as relevant to the subject of this article. Your opinion on the correct periodisation of "teenage pregnancy" is irrelevant - the content of the history section of the article should be determined by the best sources treating substantially of the subject of the article. I'm far from an expert in this area so if you present a scholarly source that identifies "teenage pregnancy" as a relevant and applicable concept for the antique era and also identifies Mary as exemplar of the phenomenon I will then seriously consider your proposed content addition. As of yet, however, you have not presented a source-based argument. FiachraByrne (talk) 12:02, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Lack of reliable and specific sources, particularly in a contemporary sense. Scholarly agreement is merely a paper tiger created to disguise the fact that the original sources can't stand for themselves without extraordinary interpretation. (Cesdeva (talk) 00:33, 7 December 2013 (UTC))
    I don't think I understand this. What "original sources"? There are no "original sources" that give Mary's age. They didn't have birth certificates or things like that back then. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:42, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
That's the point haha (Cesdeva (talk) 14:39, 8 December 2013 (UTC))
I don't think it's a very good point, then. There is no birth certificate or original records for the birth of any of the Roman emperors or any of the Greek philosophers: Shall we assume that there is no good reason, "without extraordinary interpretation", to believe that any of them existed either? "Let's mention that Christmas is a religious holiday that is generally believed (by the relevant scholars, not by your grandmother) to have involved a teenage mother" is not the same thing as saying "Let's assert that this person definitely existed and can definitely be proven to have given birth at this exact age." I am opposed to making statements of the second type in this article (or anywhere else, for that matter). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:16, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
You forget that the Roman Emperors and the Greek Philosophers are themselves incredibly influential and important people of their time who feature in many records contemporary to themselves. The Greek philosophers created schools of thought that sculpted the minds of empires and formed the foundations of modern science and philosophy. Mary, if she existed, was a teenage mother in a world full of teenage mothers. Come on, gimme a break.
Whether a scholar looks at a lack of evidence, or my Grandmother, a lack of evidence is a lack of evidence. Providing the strained interpretation of a few biased academics doesn't make something true. (Cesdeva (talk) 16:47, 13 December 2013 (UTC))
Look at Pythagoras: "Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived....Accurate facts about the life of Pythagoras are so few, and most information concerning him is of so late a date, and so untrustworthy, that it is impossible to provide more than a vague outline of his life. The lack of information by contemporary writers..." That sounds like the exact opposite of "featuring in many records contemporary to themselves" to me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:21, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose on sources, as others have expressed it. You are on safer ground with Juliet, but the whole concept of Teenage pregnancy is really only relevant to the modern world, also as others have said. Johnbod (talk) 12:38, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Johnbod et al. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:04, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Johnbod. United States Man (talk) 07:51, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I support inclusion. The birth of Jesus is the most celebrated birth in history. If His mother is believed to have given birth to Him when she was a teenager than it should be mentioned. Until recently I was unaware that Mary had been so young when she gave birth to Jesus. Nor was I aware that the Prophet Muhammad married a 9 year old girl when he was over 50. These are two good examples of how teenage pregnancy and marriage was not seen as an issue worthy of a mention until recent times. Felann96 (talk) 03:46, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Johnbod, FiachraByrne, et al. (I was "randomly selected to receive an invitation to participate in the request for comment") --BoogaLouie (talk) 22:46, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support absolutely with reliable sources, and if there arent reliable sources we shouldnt even be discussing this♫ SqueakBox talk contribs 23:13, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose She is famous because of motherhood, and she may have been a teen at the time, but she is not famous for being a teen mother. Additionally, the entire concept of "teen mother" means much more than the literal age. It is a shorthand for being a mother below the age a social/legal maturity, and generally a derogatory or negative label. there are no sources indicating that mary's age was unusual for being a mother 2000 years ago. Gaijin42 (talk) 01:28, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose inclusion. Not because of uncertain historicity (I consider that whole argument a red herring here), and not because of any concerns of it being offensive, but simply because it is of absolutely no information value. The only reason writers have inferred Mary may have been in her early teens when she gave birth is because that was the most normal thing to be in her time and culture. Therefore, saying that "Mary may have been in her early teens" is completely redundant to saying "in that time and culture, women tended to get married and have children in their early teens." This latter statement may well be of encyclopedic value to the article; picking out a single individual among the millions it applies to and naming her is of no value at all. Fut.Perf. 08:42, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Is there evidence that teenage pregnancy was normal in Biblical times? Felann96 (talk) 01:40, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I would take it for granted that it was normal in pretty much all pre-modern societies. But I haven't read the sources; my point was that people in this discussion above cited a number of writers in (formally) "reliable" sources who were making that assumption about Mary, but that apparently the only reason any of them proposed that speculation was the idea that it was the normal thing for her time, whatever that idea in turn may be based on.

Consensus of RFC[edit]

  • I would tend to read the consensus of the RFC as going against the inclusion in the article of Mary, Mother of Jesus as a historical example of teenage pregnancy. Would others agree with this or does this RFC require a formal closure? FiachraByrne (talk) 01:29, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure if there should be any examples given of births to teenage mothers. Compared to women in their twenties there are disproportionately more teenage pregnancies that end in miscarriages or maternal deaths or both. Felann96 (talk) 00:54, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Methinks your comments belong in the section above? FiachraByrne (talk) 01:30, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  • OK. I'm going to ask for a formal closure then. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:12, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Request for closure. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:22, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Removal of Media section from article[edit]

Kww removed the media section of this article as it was asserted that is was a "large chunk of poorly-sourced original research [1]. This prompted a limited exchange via edit summary between Kww, Flyer22 and myself [2] [3] [4]. The discussion was then taken to Flyer22's talk page which I have quoted from below:

Hi Flyer22. I suspect you're right [5], but can you point me to the relevant TV and film policy that states "the fiction serves as the source for plot material". I'll probably argue that while that's fine for articles about TV episodes and films, for other topics we should have secondary sources relating the media material to the article topic. [...] Anyhow, as it was large chunk of work, its deletion probably should be discussed on the talk page. Would you like to start the discussion? FiachraByrne (talk) 03:43, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes, in addition to that link, you are referring to this, this and this link. WikiProjects don't have policies, but with regard to practice or official guidelines... For WP:TV, there is WP:TVPLOT and we had a big discussion about such sourcing at WP:SOAPS in 2011 (WP:TV editors took part in that discussion); you can find that discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Soap Operas/Archive 5#Storylines sections lack references. For WP:FILM, there is WP:FILMPLOT, though, in part it states, "in film articles" (which can support your argument that such a "the fiction sources itself" approach is only appropriate in the article about that particular fiction). ...
Flyer22 (talk) 04:34, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Actually, it was original research. It took a series of events sourced only to primary material and made conclusions and generalizations about the treatment of teenage pregnancy in media based on them. That's original research. A statement about the plot of the Gilmore Girls isn't original research, but "Other fiction, particularly in a long-running television series..." is.—Kww(talk) 05:42, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
The WP:Original research policy states: Wikipedia articles must not contain original research. The phrase "original research" (OR) is used on Wikipedia to refer to material—such as facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist.
Its reference for that line states: By "exists", the community means that the reliable source must have been published and still exist—somewhere in the world, in any language, whether or not it is reachable online—even if no source is currently named in the article. Articles that currently name zero references of any type may be fully compliant with this policy—so long as there is a reasonable expectation that every bit of material is supported by a published, reliable source.
So, no, because sources exist for a lot of that material (including stating that those matters are examples of [so and so]), I can't agree with you that the material you removed was WP:Original research. Or rather not that all of it was. Like I stated, most of it (the significant majority of it) was/is not WP:Original research, but simply a reiteration of the plot and stating that the plot is an example of [so and so]; looking at the Wikipedia articles for those works show that they are examples of what that text stated. I would agree that what you removed in this regard is WP:Synthesis, which is an aspect of WP:Original research, but the text wasn't synthesizing sources. The text was certainly WP:Editorializing, however.
Flyer22 (talk) 06:27, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Discussion on Flyer22's talk page]

Flyer does not wish to take any further part in this discussion, but suggested the relevant exchange from their talk page should be placed here. FiachraByrne (talk) 15:14, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, FiachraByrne. It's not so much that I don't wish to take part in this discussion; it's just that I don't care much to take part in it, and rather wanted it discussed here on the article talk page instead of at mine. Flyer22 (talk) 15:18, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I also agree that the section Kww removed should be significantly fixed up before, or if, it is reinstated. And so should a similar section if placed in this article. Personally, if I'd added that information, I would have sourced even the plot details at some parts because the Teenage pregnancy article is not the article about those fiction pieces and I know that experienced Wikipedians generally expect sources. Since Wikipedia is not supposed to be used to source itself, simply going to the Wikipedia article about the fiction (even if that Wikipedia article is well-sourced) is not sufficient sourcing. Flyer22 (talk) 15:27, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

If an article is already in the media should that not count as a published source? I think the media section is important as the media effects peoples attitudes and behavior - particularly young people. Some people have complained that tv programs such as 16 and Pregnant unintentionally glamorize and encourage teen pregnancy. This has been spoken and written about quite a lot. Felann96 (talk) 17:42, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes, any published piece of fiction (e.g., a TV show) is a WP:Published primary source and can be used to make simple factual claims about its contents. You may cite Pride and Prejudice to say that the principal character is named Elizabeth, and you may cite a TV show about pregnant teenagers to say that the TV show is about pregnant teenagers.
Analysis of the TV show's effect on society—e.g., complaints that it glamorizes and encourages teen pregnancy—is a secondary source. We prefer secondary sources. (NB that WP:Secondary does not mean good. You can have a lousy secondary source, and you can have a great primary source. But overall, we prefer secondary sources.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:17, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Flyer22 that the now deleted media section would have benefited from a revamp and with WAID that secondary sources should be preferred, especially if the article is to say anything meaningful about media portrayals of the topic rather than provide an iteration of various instances of the appearance of the topic in the media. There are some sources for this [6] [7] although a lot of sources are pretty fixated on the limited notion of whether or not a given media portrayal has a preventative function. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:36, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
If people want to add a section about "portrayal of teenage pregnancy in the media" or something of the sort, that's fine, but it should be based on sources that are about teenage pregnancy in the media. Even producing a list of examples implicitly states "these are important examples of teenage pregnancy in the media" and comes right up to the edge of being original research, even if we have a lot of sloppily sourced "such-and-such in pop culture" articles and lists. This is an area that is actually studied in reliable sources, so there's no reason for Wikipedia editors to be the ones selecting which examples are relevant and which are not.—Kww(talk) 18:35, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Anyone fancy writing this by the way? FiachraByrne (talk) 01:23, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Could it be done together on here as a team effort? Maybe using the deleted Media section as a template and editing it on here? Then only adding it to the article once everyone is satisfied. Felann96 (talk) 13:04, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Teenage pregnancy has been used as a theme or plot device in fiction, including books, films, and television series. The setting may be historical (The Blue Lagoon, Hope and Glory) or contemporary (One Tree Hill). While the subject is generally treated in a serious manner (Junk), it can sometimes play up to stereotypes in a comic manner (Vicky Pollard in Little Britain and pregnant teen Chantelle "Telle" Garvey in ITV's sitcom Benidorm.[1])

The pregnancy itself may be the result of sexual abuse (Rose in The Cider House Rules), a one-night stand (Amy Barnes in Hollyoaks), a romantic relationship (Demi Miller in EastEnders); (Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders); or a first-time sexual encounter (Sarah-Louise Platt in Coronation Street) and (Kathy Stabler in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – unusually, in Quinceañera, the central character becomes pregnant through non-penetrative sex. The drama often focuses around the discovery of the pregnancy and the decision to opt for abortion (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), adoption (Mom at Sixteen, Juno, Glee), marriage (Sugar & Spice, Reba and Jeni, Juno) or life as a single mother (Saved!, Where the Heart Is, Someone Like You). In the German play Spring Awakening (and the Broadway musical based upon it), the central female character gets pregnant and dies from a botched abortion. Stephanie Daley deals with the aftermath of a teenage pregnancy that ends with a dead newborn baby. While the pregnant girl herself is normally the chief protagonist, Too Young to Be a Dad centers on a 15-year-old boy whose girlfriend becomes pregnant, while The Snapper focuses on the reactions of the family, particularly the soon-to-be grandfather.

Other fiction, particularly in a long-running television series, looks at the long-term effects of becoming a parent at a very young age (Degrassi Junior High). In Gilmore Girls, because Lorelai Gilmore is only 16 years older than her daughter Rory, the two are more like sisters than parent and child. Looking for Alibrandi also features the teenage daughter of a woman who was herself a teenage mother. In George Lopez, Benny Lopez gave birth to George at 16. The ABC Family television show The Secret Life of the American Teenager centers on Amy Juergens, a 15-year-old who becomes a teenage mother after a one night stand. In the popular Comedy Central television show South Park the character Carol McCormick was said to have had her sons Kevin and Kenny at 13 and 16, respectively. In the Japanese drama 14-sai no Haha: Aisuru tame ni Umaretekita, the protagonist Miki Ichinose becomes pregnant with her boyfriend's child at age 14. The show examines the impact of her pregnancy on her, her family, her school life, the life of her boyfriend and his family, and the society in which she resides. In the video game series The Idolmaster, a character named Ai Hidaka was born when her mother was 16.

Reality television shows have featured teenage pregnancy stories. The Family, a fly-on-the-wall BBC television documentary series made in 1974, showed a teenage couple, Gary Wilkins and his wife Karen with their child. MTV launched two reality shows specifically about the topic, 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, in 2009. Each show depicts the reality that pregnant teens face from friends and family while going through this life-changing event, allowing teens to see what actually happens in this scenario through an outlet other than a scripted plot.

Autobiographies that look at the author’s own experience of teenage motherhood include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou, Coal Miner's Daughter by Loretta Lynn, and Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly D'Onofrio.

Songs about teenage pregnancy include downbeat tales of abuse ("Brenda's Got a Baby"), poverty ("In The Ghetto") and back-alley abortion ("Sally's Pigeons"), as well as upbeat and defiant tunes such as "Papa Don't Preach". American pop singer Fantasia Barrino, who was 17 when she gave birth to her daughter, released a controversial song about single motherhood titled "Baby Mama", describing the difficulty of raising a child alone with limited financial and family support. (Many U.S. radio stations would not play the song, ostensibly because it contains profanity.) "There Goes My Life", a modern country song by Kenny Chesney, focuses on the reaction of the father, who rhetorically asks, "I'm just a kid myself; how am I going to raise one?" As the daughter grows up, his attitude changes, and the song ends with his tearful farewell as she leaves for college. Due to its implied pro-life message, "There Goes My Life" was sung at the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2005.[citation needed] Felann96 (talk) 12:05, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Added Citations[edit]


I added citations where there were citations needed as well as a few others. I'm editing Wikipedia as part of this course.

Cwooli1 (talk) 22:51, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Accessed 2010