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Jacqui’s Dilemma

ABC serves up a frank, reasonably objective look at various sides of teen pregnancies, with everyone from a clinic director to a Catholic Monsignor briefly offering their views. Teens, the target audience, probably already know these things, but they also get commendable comments from peers who've been there; experience remains a formidable teacher.

ABC serves up a frank, reasonably objective look at various sides of teen pregnancies, with everyone from a clinic director to a Catholic Monsignor briefly offering their views. Teens, the target audience, probably already know these things, but they also get commendable comments from peers who’ve been there; experience remains a formidable teacher.

Docu surrounds experiences of 16-year-old Jacqui (Melissa Thompson) with comments from real-life teenagers and adult professionals.

Talking directly to the camera from posed positions in her cozy bedroom, she tells how she listened to sweet-talking Eddie, what happened when she got pregnant and how she’s trying to decide whether she’ll have an abortion, keep the baby or put the baby up for adoption, since marriage with Eddie isn’t feasible.

Jacqui manages an effective manner of dramatizing her dilemma, until the moment when she starts telling about the family pooch, who poked around the house looking for her pups who’d been given away.

Babies, of course, are not pups, and Jacqui doesn’t make much headway in her confidence-sharing after that.

However, the program does, with psychologists, social workers, educators, doctors and U.S. surgeon general Dr. Joycelyn Elders offering opinions.

Best advice, though, comes from teenage parents who’ve found out what they’ve had to give up for their children.

Other teens, male and female, are surprisingly forceful about not having abortions. Young mothers look sunk as they view their own predicaments.

“Yeah, it is a crisis,” agrees one. “I guess what the teenager has to do is sort of choose the option that feels the most comfortable out of maybe an uncomfortable situation. That feels right for her.”

Another says, “Nobody can make it perfect for you.”

One young lady, laughing about never having bothered with safe sex, thinks of condoms as “a hassle.” Program reminds that 500,000 teenage girls annually get pregnant.

Show quotes statistics stating that, of the girls who were surveyed, most keep their babies.

Elders points out that 100 years ago puberty arrived around age 17, but today’s average is just over 11 years of age.

Good report, edited intelligently to make its points, might reach enough to make a difference.

Jacqui's Dilemma

(Thurs. (2), 8-9 p.m., ABC)

Production: Filmed on locations around the U.S. by Planet Grande Pictures. Executive producers-directors-writers, Eamon Harrington, John Watkin.

Crew: Camera, Jane Castle; editor, Michael Badisher; production designer, David Morong; sound, Oliver Haycraft; music, Pete Scaturro.

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