MTV Italy program on teen pregnancy 'well done,' says Catholic doctor

Dr. Carlo Bellieni.
Dr. Carlo Bellieni.


Neonatal doctor Carlo Bellieni writes in Thursday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano that he is "pleasantly surprised" by a show broadcast on MTV Italy which tells the stories of teenage moms. In showing real situations and speaking of subjects that are often not touched, the shows tell the story of life, which speaks for itself against abortion.

While there are several MTV programs-- "Sixteen and Pregnant" or "Teen Mom"-- that present the stories of girls who are confronting a pregnancy, Dr. Bellieni believes that there is an "emblematic" quality to an Italian broadcast called "Mom by Chance." The program features young moms, babies in hand, speaking about their experiences.

He says that in comparison to the other shows, this program sets itself apart because rather than focusing completely on information about contraceptives, "stories are told of teenagers that remain pregnant and don't abort."

The title of the program could be read as indicative of superficial sexual relations, he observes, while on the positive side, it transmits "the normalcy of accepting an 'unplanned child.'"

Among the quotes cited in the article is one from a 19-year-old who says, "Between changing your entire life and saying 'I'll abort,' I chose the first. It was simpler: abortion is wrong, it's a trauma. The panic was saying it to my family."

Dr. Bellieni admits that subjects such as life, abortion, contraception, gynecologists and ultrasounds are batted around on all the programs, yet, he emphasizes, in this one, "finally someone says that the arrival of a child isn't a tragedy; it's an unforeseen event, an effort, a huge change, but it's an item of fact."

The girls on the show "have taken note of this reality and they've given a turn to their lives."

He goes on to applaud the "normalcy" of the program and says that the show serves to combat the "modernist phobia" of having children, without "enticing" youth to precocious relations or inducing superficiality. "Rather," he proposes, "they explain the hardship of becoming a mom at 18 years old today, and of becoming one without a family."

"The MTV shows are well done," he says, comparing them with other programs that visibly force the issue, seeking happy endings at all costs or avoiding certain themes, not speaking of abortion and maternity at all. The other shows, Dr. Bellieni observes, all talk about laws, "methods," and rights, but "no one tells in a real way what it is to abort, what a child is, how a family is hard and beautiful."

The neonatal phsycian concludes with the observation that MTV's programs don't provide a flat out "no" to abortion, but, he adds, "to create a different culture it is sufficient to show, to tell the story: the strength of life is affirmed on its own. It just can't be censored."

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