Authorities are investigating a possible pregnancy pact made between 17 teenage girls at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts.
Principal Joseph Sullivan told Time magazine that the girls, none of which are over the age of 16, made the possible “pregnancy pact” and last October sometime went to the school clinic to get pregnancy tests and were very upset every time they found out they were not pregnant.
More shocking is that all of the possible fathers of the girls’ children are believed to be in their early and mid-twenties with one of the fathers reportedly being a 24-year-old ‘homeless man’. They all face possible charges for having sex with minors.
Parents and adults in the Gloucester community blame broken families and movies like “Juno” and “Knocked Up,” which target teenagers, for making them believe that pregnancies are the best thing that could happen to them.
Meanwhile, Mayor Carolyn Kirk, a member of the school committee, has placed some blame on the “hard economic time” the city is going through and stated that the existence of such a pact is “believable, in the sense that it would explain this spike” in teenage pregnancies, referring to the fact that the number of pregnancies were four times as high than last year.
The “hard economic time” may have been in reference to the encountering hardships that the fishing town of Gloucester, who with a population of 30,000, is going through due to a decline in the fishing industry.
“This is a city in transition going through a hard economic time,” stated Ms. Kirk. “There are cuts in economic programs, cuts in services, cuts in after-school programs, and they’re all impacting the social climate. We really let these kids down.”
“It’s the social environment these girls are coming from,” added Kirk. “They think that a baby can give them love or give them status or fill an empty space in their life, and these girls are very, very young. And I think if you talk to any teenage mother who is caring for an infant, the road is not easy.”
The reported “pregnancy pact” between the 17 teenage girls has now sparked a heated debate over contraception and education in Gloucester, which is heavily Roman Catholic.
Already in May, after the hospital that administers grants for the clinic opposed making contraceptives available to students, the school clinic’s medical director and its chief nurse practitioner both resigned back in May and because Gloucester High School’s health curriculum has been cut for budget reasons, there is no sex education, according to Ms. Kirk.
Meanwhile, other teenage girls from Gloucester High School, in addition to the 17 girls known to be pregnant, continue to arrive at the clinic asking for pregnancy tests.
In related news, according to reports, nationwide, teen pregnancies are showing signs of rising after declining from 1991 to 2005. This trend has somewhat been glamorized in reports prior and on Thursday when Britney Spears’s 17-year-old sister Jamie Lynn Spears gave birth to a baby girl. This may have made Spears, who was 16 when reports first started, the new poster child for a wave of teen pregnancies. Could the trend may have even been sparked first by older sister Britney Spears who made numerous reports for a pose back in mid-2006 naked on the cover of Bazaar magazine?
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