Several days before my birthday, my little (under 21 years old) cousin had a baby. When I asked who was going to help fund the pregnancy, I learned that she, the baby, and the majority of the labor and delivery costs would be covered by Medi-Cal.
As someone who is trying to live a productive life without putting a strain on society, I consider this a blatant moral hazard. For those of you who haven’t taken an Economics class, a moral hazard is the idea that someone is given an incentive to engage in risky behavior or behavior that is altogether bad for society. In this case, teenaged children are incented to go ahead and frolic in the bedroom because if they get pregnant, well Uncle Sam is going to swoop in and take care of their problem.
That’s problem #1 and it’s a big one.
Problem #2 is that in my family what’s most admired and respected is having babies. It’s not getting a college degree, not aspiring to an Ivy League, not getting published, not obtaining a patent, but giving birth.
Soon after high school, a friend’s mom was chastising me for going to Cal. She blubbered on about its liberal, hippy environment. I wanted to scream, you dare to judge me when your daughter had a kid out of wedlock. So I’m bad, yet she’s good? Lady, are you delusional?
What is wrong with society, particularly the Filipino culture that places an unwarranted amount of respect on pushing out babies? Do you see Chinese or Indian teenagers having babies when they’re babies? NEVER! Because those cultures hone in on the correct incentives: work hard, stay in school, strive for perfection, romp in the sack later when you have a full-time job and a 401k plan. Filipinos have lost their grip on reality. Sure parents will be upset if their daughter gets pregnant, but 8 months later, let’s have another baby shower. Can’t wait for this bastard child to rear its head.
In college, an Indian friend of mine told me something that her mom said that always stuck in my own mind. Her mother said, “If you get pregnant, I hope you’re smart enough to get an abortion.” My friend never got pregnant so never had to heed those words, but that’s the preventative bottom line. She never got pregnant in the first place! Now that she’s a lawyer, married, in a dual-income household, she has set herself up for success when it comes to raising her two children.
We never talked about sex in my household, which I think is a travesty. I think my parents thought that if they didn’t mention it, we wouldn’t think it. I welcome the opportunity to educate youngsters about this. And when it comes to raising my own kids, you live in my home, you play by my rules. Pregnancy = you’re an adult = outta my house, outta my bank account. Don’t come around here no more.
You say I’m cruel. How can I call myself a Christian! Being a strict disciplinarian is completely independent of being religious. I love all my family. We all make mistakes and we all will continue to love each other. However, I think it’s sad that underage pregnancy continues to happen in the Filipino culture. No one seems to want to talk about it or even address it as an issue, only celebrate.