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Birmingham Parent magazine

Monday, October 8, 2007

Did the Birth Control Story in Oct. Issue Offend You?

I received this letter earlier today, and following it is my response. I put it here, because I want to know what YOU think. And did it offend you? How would you explain the teaser on the front to your child if she or he asked about it?


Dear Carol:>
> I have been a reader of your publication "Birmingham Parent" since my family
> relocated to Alabama 7 years ago. I have always enjoyed your magazine. That
> until I picked up the October 2007 issue in the Pelham Public Library and was
> astonished to find on the front cover a reference for an article entitled
"Birth Control for Busy Moms."
> I am saddened and disappointed that a magazine that purports to be about
> parents, families, and children would actually have an article in it that is
> about birth control - much less to have it blatantly advertised on the front
> cover. You'd best hope that these "busy moms" don't take you too literally or
> there won't be much need for a publication aimed at parents. In addition to
> this most unbiblical article on birth control I find it disturbing that I now
> have to censor this magazine from my children. This I would expect from
> something trashy like "Cosmopolitan" or "The Enquirer" - but from "Birmingham
> Parent??" In case you are not aware - children as young as 1st and 2nd grade
> are more than capable of reading what is printed on your front cover. I don't
> really think I should have to try to explain to my 7 year old daughter what
> birth control is when we haven't even had the "birds & bees" talk yet. I find
> it truly appalling that you would take something as sacred and private as the
> marriage act to be the basis of one of your feature articles.
> I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to support your publication in the
> - nor the people who advertise in it. I'll be sure to let my friends know as
> well - in case they unwittingly pass by this magazine with their young
> in tow. In future, I sincerely hope you will be more careful about what you
> consider to be appropriate for your publication.
> Sincerely,
> Monica Duvall


Dear Monica,
Thank you for your honest opinion. I appreciate it very much. I am truly sorry
you were offended by the story in our Oct. issue. That is never our intent.

I am also sorry that you will let one story discourage you from picking up our
magazine again. If you use those standards with other publications, you will
probably not be able to read media including the newspaper or watch the news.
And you will always find things you disagree with, no matter what you read.

Our magazine has never been a children's magazine -- it is for parents, so we
try to offer subjects we believe our readers are interested in. I believe we
are an excellent local resource for parents -- but that is the point, it's for
parents. This topic was something that was proposed to us and some readers had
an interest in. I think it was handled tastefully, though it was definitely an
adult subject -- not a child's one. Just a year or so ago, we did a series on
online predators -- definitely NOT a subject for children to see or look at due
to the things we discussed, but still very important for PARENTS to know about.
I hope that your child did not read those stories, either.

I am so sorry if it caused a problem for you with your child. I do take to heart
your complaint, and we will reconsider the language we use on our cover in the
future. However, we have to present subjects of interest to the parents, so I
doubt that part of the process will change, though will we always try to provide
such subjects in a tasteful, considerate way.

Again, many thanks for making your opinion known.

Carol Muse Evans
Publisher, Birmingham Parent

Now, what do you think of the article? The reader's letter? Our response? We want to hear from you?


Anonymous said...

I understand where Monica is coming from as far as the front of the magazine stating "Birth Control" as I have a 5 and 6 year old who love to sound out every single word they come in contact with, so it probably is a good idea to "Be careful" of what is on the front of the magazine as it is a free publication and can be picked up everywhere you turn and can be seen by "ALL EYES" - but... as far as the subject being "inside" the magazine -- I think it is a "VERY APPROPRIATE" subject that us mom's NEED & WANT to know about!!! The story was very tastefully put together and I personally appreciate Birmingham Parent for going the extra mile to make sure there are informative resources that pertain to ME (a mom of 3) in every single issue!

Please continue to bring us stories that we as "PARENTS" want to read !

Thanks !
Birmingham Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

As the writer of the birth control article, I want to say THANK YOU for reading the story. Even if everyone doesn't agree, at least we started a dialogue. And I appreciate the feedback.

As my editor said in her response, we see and hear things every day that we don't agree with, but that's part of life. How boring would life be if we all had the same tastes, opinions and viewpoints?

Again I appreciate your comments and hope you'll continue to read Birmingham Parent.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with the letter writer. I think an article about birth control is completely appropriate in a PARENTS magazine. Please continue to bring these stories to parents. said...

I think it was a very important article for any mom. It was informative and did not give any details that I would find to "racy" for my children. If you take your kids grocery shopping as they stand in line they see all kinds of magazine covers that have content way more worrisome than birth control. I think every time you stand in line you can see the words "great sex", "how to please your man in bed", and various other titles that one might worry about. Seeing Birth control for busy moms would not ( and has not ) raised any questions in this house. Even if it did - there are many easy answers to give a young child without giving details that would be inappropriate. Maybe you could simply say "Birth control is when mommy doesn't want a baby in her belly." Its not hard to please a child's mind when they don't already have knowledge of the content.


Anonymous said...

The original letter writer seems to be more offended by the subject of birth control. As it has been pointed out, you will see much worse on covers standing in line at the grocery store.

God is sovereign. In His goodness He has provided us all a special gift called free will. That means that we are able to make choices.

In my view, the choice to use birth control does not indicate a lack of faith or disobedience but rather exercising one of the gifts God has provided.

In faith and obedience to God's plan for my life, I choose birth control and then choose 4 of my 7 children through adoption.

In this country over 300,000 children wait for their forever homes. Most will languish in foster homes until they are released to face this world alone.

The bottom line is we must all make our choices prayerfully and with the conviction that we are responding to God's call on our life. I won't criticize you for choosing to fill your home with the children God blesses you with. In return, perhaps you could refrain from telling me that my ways are "unbiblical" as I fill my home in the way God has directed me.

Editor/Publisher said...

This e-mailed from another reader:
To blog, I don’t feel like creating an acct, naming, selecting a template, etc. So thought I’d just email you. I think the article on Birth Control was fabulous. When I read the article, I was pleased to learn of the latest BC measures and was happy to be educated on them. I thought “Wow, this is really good”. Please don’t let a few bad apples dictate whole tone of the magazine. Good grief, I’m so sick of the bible belt around here!


Anonymous said...

As a busy mom, I think that your article was more than appropriate for a parenting magazine. Moms are faced with all kinds of decisions these days, birth control being one of them. I think that the offended readers need to realize that this magazine is aimed to appeal to everyone...whether you agree with it or not. Please do not start censoring what can be useful for a great portion of your readers because of a few "offended" readers. I am willing to place money on the fact that more moms than not use some form of birth control.

Unknown said...

Even though the act of sex is a "marriage act" and should be handled responsibly with maturity and commitment. Having said that is my opinion and desire for the community i am also not naive enough to believe everyone practices what I preach. At any rate if publications such as yours don't educate women on local trends then who will? Is every option menitoned in Cosmo available to the average Birmingham woman? No. I agree that an article regarding responsible parenting is completely appropriate for your magazine. What we as a society have to remember is even if someone doesn't agree with birth control you can not shun those that do. If you truly believe it's against your religion then you should embrass those people and educate them not turn your backs on them. There may be many single mother's that needed to read that infomation to prevent them from giving birth to more children out of wedlock....would you rather that happen or worst yet wait to be educated regarding birth control until they are in an abortion clinic. Knowledge is power...period. Trust me 1st and 2nd graders already know about sex....Birmingham Parent didn't break the news.

Anonymous said...

No, the story didn't offend me, but the letter writer did. How dare she imply that because I used birth control to have only one child that I am somehow less of a parent than she is?

As for children reading what is on the front cover, does her 7-year-old think babies are delivered by the stork? That they appear magically in the cabbage patch? You don't need to have an elaborate "birds and bees" conversation to provide a simple answer, as one other poster pointed out.

Please continue to bring Birmingham parents such well-written articles on important topics.

Anonymous said...

I thought the article was informative and well written. Birth control is certainly a pertinent issue for modern Moms. It comes up a great deal in conversation with my mama friends. We don't all agree on one method or on the use of birth control in general. We can, however, discuss it because we are adults and birth control is a fact of life for a large portion of the population.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the letter! Birmingham Parent is a wonderful magazine, great resources and wonderful articles. Continue to bring us great stories and keep up the good work! Birmingham Parent is great and Parent is on the cover, because it is for Parents!!!!

Haley in Helena