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If his experience was anything like mine it isn't the working poor. It is the young workers who are not poor. They are still living at home: they do not need to pay for their room, meals eaten at home, health insurance. That is every penny they earn is pure spending money and so despite making minimum wage they are rich with no need to work as many hours as they do.

When I was working minimum wage there was also the working poor: they needed every penny. If they called in sick you knew they were sick. If you asked them to work overtime they did their best to take it because the extra money was needed (they often couldn't find a sitter on short notice though). They didn't stay in minimum wage for long, their efforts were noticed and they were offered promotions to management (not all accepted because management often meant moving away from family, but in that case they still got maximum raises until they reached the top of the pay scale).

Note that many of the working poor got themselves into that position because of their choices, generally they had a kid at 16 and dropped out of school as a result (at best finished at the bottom of their class). They were failing to dig themselves out of the hole of their bad life choices because that kid takes the time needed to get a better education. In short they lack moral fortitude in that they were (and are...) sleeping around, but not in that they are not working hard for their employer.




> Note that many of the working poor got themselves into that position because of their choices, generally they had a kid at 16 and dropped out of school as a result

The vast majority of teenage mothers in the United States do not choose to get pregnant and do not have the choice of terminating their pregnancy. They either do not have access to abortion providers - the majority of women in the United States do not have access to abortion clinics because of fundamentalist Christian activists and politicians: https://www.guttmacher.org/united-states/abortion/state-poli... - or they are coerced by their fundamentalist Christian parents into not having an abortion.


Everyone has access to birth control though. It's common knowledge how reproduction works. You have condoms, birth control pills and copper rings among other options. If you miss that you got plan b. Let's set aside your personal vendetta against the pro lifer Christians. How can you claim that the vast majority of pregnant teenagers don't choose to get pregnant?


Respectfully, I'm not sure you fully understand these issues that you seem to have a very strong opinion about.

Teenagers around the US do not as a rule have convenient access to contraceptive pills. That's because the FDA refuses to approve them for OTC sale, despite their safety relative to many other OTC meds. The stated reason for refusing OTC sales is that allowing them would prevent women from seeing their doctors for other medical issues (this is also the reason you can't buy extremely useful and safe meds like Ondansetron OTC). I feel like I'm on firm ground when I add that this is unlikely to be the only reason you can't buy OTC contraceptive pills.

Meanwhile, about half of US states require parental consent for most minors before doctors can issue prescriptions for birth control.

As a fun additional wrinkle, churches, and in particular the Catholic church, run some of the largest hospital and health chains in US metro areas. Church-run hospitals routinely refuse to provide access to contraceptive services. In Chicago, the Loyola health system --- an otherwise well-regarded health services chain! --- won't prescribe contraceptive pills to adults even for non-contraceptive reproductive health purposes!

I don't think we need to spend too much time talking about Planned Parenthood clinics; the issues there are obvious to anyone familiar with the state of reproductive health in the US.

So, no, I don't think it's reasonable to argue that any teenaged girl in the US should be expected to be fully armed with all the tools of modern contraception.


The lack of access to chemical birth control is a major issue, I agree. However, to the best of my knowledge, condoms are still fairly universally available to members of both sexes - which, while not ideal for a number of reasons, are certainly more effective in preventing the transmission of STIs as well as being effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. Perhaps that might be a more charitable interpretation of the grandparent post, even if it's clearly not correct on the whole.


Beyond pointing out the obvious fact that teenaged girls in the US are living in a society that goes to some lengths to actively obstruct them from using the most reliable forms of contraception, I'm not really interested in digging further into the details here.


Fair enough.


You didn't mention the most obvious solution which is condoms. I bought them easily as a teenager 18 years ago. You can get them for free in many places these days.

You're also giving teenagers a pass for having unprotected sex as if they don't know there's a risk of 1) getting pregnant and 2) getting an STD.

Certainly some birth control measures are less accessible to teenagers, but what I'm arguing is the parent's claim that "The vast majority of teenage mothers in the United States do not choose to get pregnant"

That's not accurate unless what is meant is that "the vast majority of teenage mothers don't want to get pregnant (but choose to forego readily available birth control / condoms)". I'd believe that.


Without getting into any of the rest of this comment: that's not what you said. You blamed teenaged girls in part for not taking advantage of contraceptive pills. Specifically, you wrote:

It's common knowledge how reproduction works. You have condoms, birth control pills and copper rings among other options.

That's simply not a reasonable argument. Don't move the goalposts now.


I'm not moving the goalposts. If you're a teenager and you don't use a condom or other means and get pregnant - that's on you. You wrote a long retort which ignored condoms. That's unreasonable.

If you don't use a condom no matter what age you are and get an STD - same thing - that's on you too.

Your argument about post-conception options - I agree that not everyone has the same access. But I'm not talking about that.

Condoms work. Teenagers know the risk. They're just being dumb and it's on them.

Now - your argument that making birth control more available - sure I think that's a good thing too. But the notion that "the vast majority of teenage mothers in the United States do not choose to get pregnant" is irresponsible because almost all of them got pregnant by being wreckless while viable options are readily available. Specifically condoms.


The comment that you wrote and that I quoted from just now is still right there for everyone to read. It's weird to write as if it wasn't.

(The comment I just replied to was edited extensively after I replied to it. That's OK; I said what I wanted to say.)


I just added more to it. That's all. If you want to ignore condoms, then we're at an impasse.


Ondansetron is associated with long QT. The FDA does not like that side effect for OTC meds.


Easy: a lot of states teach abstinence-only sex education, and there's a prevailing set of social norms (often imposed by "pro lifer Christians") that makes frank discussions of birth control, sex, reproductive biology, etc. all but impossible. It sounds crazy - and, IMHO, it is - but large parts of the US operate as de facto theocracies, especially where it comes to education.

Under those circumstances, it's not surprising that teenagers have sex, don't know how to do so safely, and end up pregnant without meaning to. That is: a teenager absolutely can choose to have sex without choosing to get pregnant, simply because the society around them has conspired to make sure they don't understand how one leads to the other.


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That's exactly the line of thinking that leads to societies where women must be accompanied by men in public.

It's strategic: prevent women from accessing the tools and knowledge to keep themselves safe, then justify denying them rights "to keep them safe."


You had the kernel of a sensible point a while ago, but now you're just digging in. Acting as if most teenage pregnancies occur because the woman involved doesn't understand how babies are made is asinine unless you've unearthed some population I don't know about; and claiming that frictions standing in the way of perfectly convenient birth control absolves a person from all consequences is both asinine and actively insulting to the agency of human beings everywhere.

Things could be better, of course, and that's worth talking about, but your argument has turned into a caricature.


Americans don't have universal healthcare, can't just go walk in some clinic / pharmacy and get a doctor / pharmacist to Rx you some birth control.

You also have minimal->zero private money and come from a poor background so it's too expensive. Your parents are religious and it's difficult to privately have & use birth control. Copper IUDs create pretty bad periods and are more painful to insert if you never given birth. Giving yourself a megadose of hormones with other implants is pretty freaky.

But your 16 years old and have a lot of hormones...

That is part of the reason why the entire obamacare free birth control fight was pretty emotional in the USA.


I'm pretty sure that you can buy condoms in America. They're not that expensive and work reasonably well.


Last I checked condoms were the only birth control that prevents STDs. All the other birth control named is not appropriate for teens who are unlikely to have settled on a lifetime monogamous partner.


So basically you're boiling it down to sex and laying down the guilt at the feet of the healthy young adults whose behavior is all but unexpected.

Wouldn't you rather call it the failure of a community - a society - to prepare its new members to the complexities of life?

Oh but it's easy to climb up the high horse, brandish the sword of Morals and throw the erring off the tower (incidentally, it's the same ISIS does to its own "deviants")


It's nothing to do with morals. Unsafe sex at an early age is just plain a stupid dangerous decision, and there's plenty of people to tell you that. Sure - I feel bad for the people who are now going to be paying for the consequences for the rest of their lives, but it's not some arbitrary religious code. It's not so different from experimenting with drugs in that regard.


Kids make stupid and dangerous decisions because their brains aren't fully developed, they don't have the same sense of perspective that they will (hopefully) have as adults. Once upon a time, this was part of why we had a separate judicial system for them, too.

Religion comes into play because the lobby against making birth control available to teenagers is also the lobby against abortion clinics (and any clinics that offer health services and birth control to teenagers) is also the lobby to teach abstinence in schools (or not teach sex ed. at all), and that lobby gets most of its funding from religious organizations.

So, the slightly awkward week in sixth grade where my teacher gave us anatomy lessons and a birth video is something my daughter didn't get to experience, even though I brought my family back to my hometown. Instead, she gets the even more wonderfully awkward talk from her parents, which my wife likes to paraphrase as "your mouth won't get pregnant" (thanks Bill Clinton).

Teen pregnancy is not currently a common issue (it has been declining since 1990), but that doesn't mean it won't start going back up if we continue making it more difficult for young women (and men) to have access to birth control and education about safe sex.

We even had some discussion in school about how to reduce the risks of experimenting with drugs, though I don't think many people followed those directions.


Religion _was_ the birth control for a long time. It appears to have stopped working sometime in the late 1960's though.


In the old days they used to say "First babies can arrive whenever they want, the second baby better take nine months". Which is to say they knew unmarried people would have sex, but any girl that got herself pregnant was expected to marry the father before the baby was born and stay married.

Religion never worked great, but it was all they had.


Expecting kids to wisely abstain when their brains aren't fully developed yet and their bodies are telling them that having sex is the most important thing they could possibly do is foolish. Giving them ready access to contraception and sex ed so they don't harm themselves or others is easy and effective, and there's no good reason not to do it.

You are looking at a problem with a simple and well-understood solution, and instead of talking about implementation you're going "Tsk, tsk, it's their own fault for being stupid." So, yes, you're absolutely moralizing.

> it's not some arbitrary religious code.

Giving teenagers worthless abstinence education instead of proven sex ed is the definition of an arbitrary religious code.


I think you missed the part where I said unsafe sex. I'm trying my darndest to find where I said abstinence, but gee golly I just can't do it. But I guess it just has to be someone else's fault somehow.


You said: "Unsafe sex at an early age is just plain a stupid dangerous decision, and there's plenty of people to tell you that." In the US there are major political lobbies whose goal is to prevent kids from hearing that in favor of abstinence-only. You can't just gloss over that and say that kids should know better when people are actively trying to keep them ignorant.


There is more than sex involved, but that was the biggest factor - at least in my experience which could well be different from typical.

I carefully avoided passing a moral judgement on their acts. However the fact is sex at 16 immediately jumps into moral issues (not just Christian - most world religions encourage marriage). I did my best those to focus on the fact that as a result of that choice they have eliminated their ability to get a head.

YOU are the one placing moral judgement on their choices and trying to make it look like my judgement.


In what way does sex at 16 immediately jump into moral issues exactly?

I don't buy for a second that being sexually active as a teenager somehow equates to lack of moral fortitude.

There's plenty of teenagers that are aware of birth control and use it appropriately. Do they lack moral fortitude, too?


Having a kid at 16 will screw you up. Most people have a moral objection to screwing up their life like that, as well as the practical objection. Most religions of the world have some form of moral objection to sex outside of marriage, it can be easily argued that the moral objection comes form the practical issues. (most religions predates any form of effective birth control. Today you can argue that the moral is obsolete)

Or put it another way, you cannot talk about kids having sex without everybody bringing their own different morals up. The two are very intertwined.


Yeah okay that doesn't exactly equate to lacking moral fortitude. Think you're projecting a bit there.


fair enough. I should have put moral fortitude in quotes.


20th century+ humans have reliable birth control. There is a very strong anti birth control meme in the US.


>> That is every penny they earn is pure spending money

I never looked at it as pure spending money - it was mostly saving for an education and a start in my adult life. Might be why I'm one of the few of my generation that doesn't think the entire economy is stacked against them?


With the exception of a Nintendo DS, 1 game, and some beer, all of my money from 4 years of jobs went to rent,food, and the tiny little bit left over went to tuition. Anyone going to college in the past 20 years was not paying for it all with a job you could hold while going to classes


graduated with a B.S. 5 years ago debt-free with no help from parents. It's possible.


Id certainly believe that it's possible to do so. However, in the same way that anyone could be president, not everyone can be. Lots of colleges don't even have enough jobs in the area to support every student working, and the number of hours you'd have to work can prevent anyone with a difficulty major from doing so

Edit:I did say _anyone_ in the past 20 years so that is some unfortunate hyperbole on my part


> Lots of colleges don't even have enough jobs in the area to support every student working

This doesn't make a lot of conceptual sense. If 100,000 people move into a town of formerly-3000, they will severely outnumber the open job slots from before they moved in, but that doesn't mean no work is available for any of them. Most of them will find work just as most people everywhere find work.

Work is available to anyone who can do something productive.


The bar for "something productive" keeps rising though.


Step 1: Study somewhere that is not the US ;-)

Some US based acquaintances recently discussed the college options and choices of their kids. A year at the cheapest college they discussed cost more than twice (tuition, without a room) as much as my German B.Sc. and M.Sc. combined: that is, 5 years of study (or longer - I decided to study part-time and earn real money in parallel. It costs little extra).


My post was focused on those who were skipping work. As I recall the majority of the kids had enough work ethic to show up every day. They probably were saving a fair amount of their pay check, but we never discussed that.


That's a stereotype.




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