Pregnant teen boys in Chicago ad campaign stirs up controversy

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A provocative ad campaign featuring sad-faced teen boys with swollen pregnant bellies spilling over their pants is turning a lot of heads on the streets of Chicago.

The photographs, which were digitally altered to make the boys look like they’re expecting, run with the tagline, “Unexpected? Most teen pregnancies are.” They also encourage teens to visit the website BeYouHealthy.org for information on avoiding unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

The Chicago Department of Public Health’s Office of Adolescent and School Health intentionally created the shocking campaign to increase awareness around the Windy City’s teen pregnancy rates. While teen pregnancies are down 33 percent in Chicago, they’re still 1.5 times higher than the national average.

“The point was to get people’s attention and get conversation started about teen pregnancy and teen births, and how they really affect a community,” Brian Richardson, a spokesperson for the department, told the Daily News.

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The ads that started popping up on the sides of buses and trains in May are also meant to send the message that pregnancy and parenthood are more than just a woman’s responsibility.

The ads have people in Chicago talking and have caught the attention of national media, but will they actually lower teen birth rates? Similar images of depressed-looking pregnant teen boys were used in a Milwaukee ad campaign and credited with reducing teen pregnancy rates by 10 percent, according to the Daily News.

Here’s a look at more ad campaigns that used shocking images of babies and kids to make a point.

 

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