Friday, June 20, 2008

Pregnancy pact reveals underlying issues

Here's a story that'll give you pause: Seventeen girls at Gloucester High School, located in a small Massachusetts fishing town, are pregnant. That's more than four times the number reported last year. The really shocking part is that at least half of those girls apparently made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together.

None of the girls is older than 16. One of the fathers is a homeless 24-year-old.

In the story, 18-year-old Amanda Ireland offered her theory on why the girls decided to get pregnant. She had a baby during her freshman year and remembers some of the now-pregnant girls telling her how lucky she was to have a child. "They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," she said. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."

I find the whole situation so sad. The town of Gloucester is limping along financially as its jobs go overseas. "Families are broken," says school superintendent Christopher Farmer. "Many of our young people are growing up directionless." The fact these kids feel they have to have a baby in order to experience love is heartbreaking. And what kind of future can they provide their children? When you're 16, you're not thinking about details like that.

The school clinic's medical director and nurse practitioner started prescribing birth control after they'd administered around 150 pregnancy tests. Some parents took exception to that, saying they had no right to make that decision for their children. But in this case, would birth control even matter? This is a problem that goes way deeper than sex ed. Hopefully, those parents can see that.

Addendum: One of the pregnant girls came forward and claimed there was no pact, that some of the teens just decided to help each other in a difficult situation. Doesn't change the fact that there's still 17 moms-to-be this school year.


Anonymous said...

Wait until some of the fathers are charged with a sex offense.

We'll be hearing about this group for months to come. Stories about the births, the "five years later" stories, stories about infighting over baby's sad on many levels.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering why the fathers have not yet been charged with a sex offense.

It is stories like these that popularize and glorify the idea that teen pregnancy is the new thing to do. Like a fad.