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Pregnancy Pact

Wow. Seventeen girls, all under age 16, who attend 1,200-student Gloucester High School in Massachusetts, are pregnant. On purpose, apparently. One of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless man.

According to Time Magazine, the girls entered into a “pregnancy pact” to have babies and raise them together.

As many as 150 girls requested pregnancy tests during the academic year, some several times. While it’s not certain how many were involved in the pregnancy pact, some of the non-pregnant girls appeared to be disappointed with the results.

Why would high-school girls choose such a thing? Why would they want the burdens of motherhood, mutually shared or not, at such a young age? None of the pregnant girls, nor their parents, agreed to an interview with Time.

But Amanda Ireland, a recent Gloucester grad who had a baby during her freshman year, says some of her now pregnant schoolmates commented on how lucky she was. “They’re so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally,” Ms. Ireland says. “I try to explain it’s hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m.”

And the agreement to raise the children together suggests that they’re searching for a community, or even an ersatz family.

“Families are broken,” school superintendent Christopher Farmer points out. “Many of our young people are growing up directionless.”

No kidding.

Certainly the school sends mixed messages about unwed parenthood. In addition to offerring pregnancy tests, it provides day-care, free of charge, for students’ children. As girls navigate the hallways, many are pushing strollers.

Apparently missing the point that girls are getting pregnant on purpose, Gloucester High’s medical director and nurse practitioner advocated giving students contraception, without their parents’ consent, as though pills, and not parents, would calm the crisis. In the face of strong opposition, the two resigned.

Good riddance. When more than 20 percent of a high school’s female student population are requesting, and granted, pregnancy tests, something is wrong that pills can’t correct. When a significant number of 14- and 15-year-olds are seeking mutual motherhood, it’s clear that they’re looking for something that they won’t find in a pill pack, or in sex, or in a baby.

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7 thoughts on “Pregnancy Pact

  1. man, can you imagine such poor decision making? not one girl went “hey guys.. um, this is incredibly stupid.”? they need to watch the baby borrowers on nbc. i don’t even think it’s out yet though is the thing. bad timing, haha, they could have been saved by reality tv.

  2. wow. shouldn’t these kids babysit their nieces and nephews first. or at least watch that new NBC show Baby Borrowers where teens get to look after babies that are not their own. thats a good lesson on perspective.

  3. It’s sad that the only way these girls are able to feel validated and part of a community is to do this. I see this as an indictment of their fathers…but what do I know?

  4. Hi Leslie–

    Good article. I was just reading about this around the web and came across this new show called Baby Borrowers. It seems to address this issue. Do you think it would be effective to dissuade teens from wanting to have kids?

  5. If your thought about them “searching for a community, or even an ersatz family” is correct, it’s both encouraging and sad…encouraging that these young ladies are seeking ways to help themselves and each other find what they’re lacking, but sad that they felt they all had to get pregnant to do it (and picked guys like that to slip ’em the juice, if that homeless guy is typical of the fathers they chose). And, if their experiment fails–an all-too-likely scenario–it’s those little kids who are going to suffer for it.

  6. dear leslie,
    i borrowed one of your photos for my blog–i was searching for a dawn in waikiki shot! (i credited you) i’m glad you enjoyed your visit to oahu.

    p.s. i can take it off my blog if you’d like, just let me know…

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