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At the risk of sullying First Things with a matter that wouldn’t make the category of Eleventh Things, I was struck by word this week that Jamie Lynn Spears, the sixteen-year-old kid sister of pop tartlet Britney Spears, is pregnant.

Jamie Lynn announced the news on Tuesday and the celebrity-industrial complex went into overdrive. Some of the stories have been kind to the young lady. Many have not been. There’s a lot of clucking on the blogs about rednecks getting knocked up early and whatnot. That’s fine.

But we ought to pause, for just a moment, and appreciate Ms. Spears for doing something fairly bold for a girl in her position: Not murdering her baby. Spears is the star of a Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 and, like Hilary Duff and Mandy Moore and other teen actresses before faced the prospect of much work before her, most of it quite commercial and hence, likely to be quite profitable. Having a baby will derail at least some of that; at the very least it will probably disqualify her from the teen ingénue roles that are the bread-and-butter of her class of actress.

One suspects that there were probably a few, perhaps many, forces which counseled Spears to “take care” of the “problem.” It’s not hard to imagine that conversation with a bullying adult from some other side of the business. And while I don’t know that there’s any data on this, again, one suspects that young actresses have routinely faced with this sort of choice for the last eighty years or so. I wonder how many of them chose the life of their baby over financial rewards and business pressure.

Obviously, becoming pregnant while unmarried, and at sixteen, is not optimal. But Spears deserves credit for choosing life. I wonder if the pro-choice feminists will celebrate her boldness and sacrifice.



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