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Seventeen teenagers make a pregnancy pact and are happily knocked up.

Usually, teen pregnancy is seen as something negative. Sexually active girls dread getting pregnant. Parents worry about their daughters ruining their lives. Boyfriends fear being tied down forever.

But for a group of sixteen-year-old girls in Massachusetts, that's not the case. They made a pregnancy pact and now, a whopping seventeen girls are happily expecting a baby.

There's a stunning twist to the sudden rise in teen pregnancies at Gloucester High School. Seventeen students there are expecting and many of them became that way on purpose.

Time Magazine first reported that nearly half of the girls confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. None of them is older than 16.

Schools Superintendent Christopher Farmer told WBZ's Bill Shields Thursday the girls had "an agreement to get pregnant."

Farmer said these are generally "girls who lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life."

"The common threat is the lack of self-esteem and purpose in life, and a lack of a sense of direction," said Farmer. "Young women wanting and needing affection."

Principal Joseph Sullivan has not returned calls from WBZ for comment.

Sullivan told the magazine that the pact wasn't the only shocking incident.

"We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," he told Time.

Last month, two top officials at the high school's health center resigned in a fight over contraceptives distribution.

Medical Director Dr. Brian Orr and chief nurse practitioner Kim Daly support confidentially giving contraceptives to students. They were outraged about resistance from Addison Gilbert Hospital, which administers the state public health grant that funds the school clinic.

Normally, the school has about four pregnancies per school year.

According to Time, school officials started looking into the spike in pregnancies after an unusual number of girls came to the school clinic for pregnancy tests. Some came by several times.

"Some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan told the magazine.

The pregnant girls and their parents turned down requests to be interviewed.

A recent graduate who had a baby during her freshman year told Time she knows why the girls wanted to get pregnant.

"They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Amanda Ireland, 18, said. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."


The students are lacking love, so they decide they want to have a baby? I call B.S.

This is simply a bunch of girls who have no idea what they're getting into. They see movies like "Knocked Up" and "Juno". They see celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Ashlee Simpson, and Jamie Lynn Spears having babies out of wedlock. They're constantly being bombarded with sex from every direction and told by adults that it isn't a big deal, as long as they're "safe". Their parents are likely never there, absentee parents who don't pay enough attention to their daughters' lives and won't put their foot down, yet will always be their safety net.

All of these things combine, and what do we find? A group of sixteen-year-old girls with no comprehension of what they're doing to their lives or what the real world is like, who are so desperate to be adults that they're getting pregnant on purpose, one of them by a homeless man.

The school pretends to be shocked, but they condone this behavior.

The high school has done perhaps too good a job of embracing young mothers. Sex-ed classes end freshman year at Gloucester, where teen parents are encouraged to take their children to a free on-site day-care center. Strollers mingle seamlessly in school hallways among cheerleaders and junior ROTC. "We're proud to help the mothers stay in school," says Sue Todd, CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the day-care center.

It's good that teen mothers are able to stay in school and still graduate; it means that they have more of a chance of leading a successful and productive life. However, what kind of message does this send? That there are no consequences, that nothing will change, and that having a baby won't have any kind of negative effect on their lives or futures.

They're letting these girls live in a bubble, protected from the realities of life. It's a cruel failure by the adults in their lives who are supposed to be preparing these children for the real world. A sixteen-year-old girl cannot understand the consequences of these actions; she has no idea what she is getting into. This is where her parents and her teachers have let her down. The fact that this happened in one of the most liberal states in the country does not surprise me, either.

It's sad, seeing how this has happened to a bunch of children. It's sad to see that this is where our country is headed. But these are the consequences when parents become absent, moral foundations are eroded, and sex is seen as inconsequential and trivial. And it's our failure.

Hat Tip: Dr. Melissa Clouthier


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Comments (25)

Seventeen girls in a mental... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Seventeen girls in a mental facility for years and seventeen babies up for adoption. Cure now and forever.

However, what kind... (Below threshold)
jpe:
However, what kind of message does this send? That there are no consequences
What happened to the good old days, when unmarried pregnant women were sent to nunneries and socially shunned?
Why do I think their tune w... (Below threshold)
GarandFan Author Profile Page:

Why do I think their tune will change with the first labor pain?

Wow. Just..... wow.... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

Wow. Just..... wow.

While I agree that more can... (Below threshold)

While I agree that more can and should be done to keep teens from thinking that having a baby is "cool" and no big deal, I disagree with the idea that once pregnant that they should be "punished" or that there should be consequences meted out. The social stigmas of single teen parenthood did not affect only the teens, it colored the attitudes towards the child. The innocent child. The child that grew up being called a "bastard" and shunned by many.

Once they're pregnant, what's done is done. Acting as if the situation is a huge tragedy and something to be ashamed of does no one any good, especially the baby. A new life, no matter how it came to be, is still a life and is worthy of all the love, joy and celebration as any other.

I have one of these "high s... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

I have one of these "high schools" down the street from my office. A prominent toddler "playground" is set in the side of it, surrounded by fence. It's insane.

Let the families which encourage such behavior care for and raise the children, not the school system. The signals it sends are "no prob, no stigma, c'mon have 'em as you please."

Crazy.

Jesus H. Christmas. I'm alm... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Jesus H. Christmas. I'm almost 42, my wife's 33 and we have a very good, not-really-a-trouble-at-all 13-week old boy and even WE have trouble coping with the realities having and raising a child. And mommy and daddy ain't near by to help us either.

How aggravating that a school would promote this.

This is basically just havi... (Below threshold)

This is basically just having a baby for fun, except a lot of stuff babies require isn't fun. Like lots of diaper changes, constant attention, teaching them to eat, walk, talk...

Babies require lots of attention and work, and the unconditional love is the result of that, not merely giving birth.

These are not really childr... (Below threshold)

These are not really children, unable to make moral choices. Or more to the point, they may be unable to make moral choices, but not due to their age. It is possible (in fact, was the default in the US until the late 1800s or early 1900s) for a 13 year old to be in every way an adult. And in fact my goal has been to raise my children so that at 13 they are prepared to make any moral choice they will ever have to make, though I will still shelter them as much as possible until they are legally adults. But that's the thing: I haven't infantilized my kids. They've already had to live with the consequences of choices they made. And I suspect that that is what is missing in these girls' lives: they don't know the seriousness of what they've done (though they'll soon know all too well) because they've never been confronted with any serious consequences to anything at any time in their lives. And that's not the girls' fault, but the school's and most immediately the parents'.

I had five children, in wed... (Below threshold)
tyree:

I had five children, in wedlock, with my wife. I changed their diapers, I took them out in the stroller, I took them to the doctor. I put them through college.
Because my wife and I were married, we got very little from the government. My father and I once figured out how much money we could have made if we did everything the same but didn't get married. The amount was astounding. Whatever you tax, you get less of, whatever you subsidize, you get more of.
The politicians who voted to subsidize out of wedlock childbirth knew what the consequences would be, they just didn't care. They wanted "Change", and that's is what they got. Change for the better? That should always be the question.

The liberalization of Ameri... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

The liberalization of America continues.

Maybe 20/20 can follow thes... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Maybe 20/20 can follow these babies, like they do with the sextuplets and such, to see how they fare as they grow up. I'm sure it will make for an interesting, and depressing, story over the years.

I think the only people tha... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I think the only people that let them down were their parents. You cant hold the teacher responsible for this. They are only at the school to teach kids, writing, and math and other skills. Whats wrong with these kids these days is that they have no home training. And the damn baby boomer generation, doesnt want to take responsiblity like their parents did, to raise their children. I'm in the generation after the baby boom, its scary to see that America will be taken over by a generation that is uneducated of the way to live life responsibly.

I agree that things have ch... (Below threshold)
Tammy:

I agree that things have changed just since I graduated in '84. If you got pregnant out of wedlock it was still a stigma back then--or at least it was in my part of the country. I don't see that with the teens I know. The girls I taught requested to put a teen mother-to-be on our prayer list. We did, but I was ever more shocked when one of the teens told that she was supposed to be the baby's godmother! I was thinking to myself that that child, who was 13 at the time, had no idea what a godmother was supposed to be. I'm 41 and I would hesitate to agree to be someone's godmother. It would all depend on how I knew the friend would be rearing their offspring before I would agree to take over in case of their untimely death.

What about the fathers of t... (Below threshold)

What about the fathers of these kids. Will they be held accountable in some way? Paying child support at some level? I guess that's hard to do if you are 24 and homeless.

These young girls have made... (Below threshold)
KE:

These young girls have made a huge mistake and the babies that grow up to be adults will suffer. These young ladies are irresponsible as teenagers and will be irresponsible parents. These babies should be taken and turned over to waiting adopting parents. This not an action from a responsible person capable of caring for and infant,toddler,pre-teen or teen child. No matter what the stage. If at this age they haven't started to look at life seriously do we have the option of waiting until they do? No, I say take them from day 1 so they are provided with a better future and send these irresponsible teenagers to group homes and farms as workers. Add counseling to the mix and we may end up with some more responsible adults. Is this what the future holds. This is coming from a previously 19 yo unwed mom. Dad did stick around to help but, that is one in a million. You can't count on that.

re: "What about the... (Below threshold)
TJ:

re:
"What about the fathers of these kids. Will they be held accountable in some way? Paying child support at some level? I guess that's hard to do if you are 24 and homeless."

As the 17 girls/women cited are none older than 16 years, every one of the 'fathers' are now eligible for a charge of statutory rape.

'homeless guy' will now have a home; 16x16, made of concrete, with a nice barred window/door.

hopefully.

Teens should be required to... (Below threshold)
Carrie:

Teens should be required to watch this show Baby Borrowers. That would scare them from glamourizing pregnancy and parenting.

The students are lacking... (Below threshold)

The students are lacking love, so they decide they want to have a baby? I call B.S.

According to some folks I know who work with teen mothers this is often a reason why these girls go through with their pregnancies. Often in defiance of family and boyfriends who want them to abort their babies.

We need a True Love Revolut... (Below threshold)

We need a True Love Revolution

Facts:
· Abortions per year: Approximately 42 Million
· Abortions per day: Approximately 115,000
· Sexually active girls have 3 times greater depression rates than abstinent girls.
· "Pledgers" are 12 times more likely to be virgins on their wedding night.
Please help us..

Video and more at www.TrueLoveWaitsRally.com
Stop the killing and start the loving
Kenneth Purdom www.TrueLoveWaitsRally.com

Talk about getting pregnant... (Below threshold)
p. williams:

Talk about getting pregnant for all the wrong reasons!!! women who by their thoughts and actions demonstrate that they are yet still children should hardly be having them. would say that these girls are an argument for for reproductive choice, only my gut instinct is to deprive them of that choice. Seriously, what chance does a kid conceived in such a such a patently irrational impulse have? Just one more future felon or teen mom.

Carrie--I heard ab... (Below threshold)
Rob Roy:

Carrie--

I heard about this show as well and thought it was on BBC. Is it coming to US? It may be a good idea to make it required viewing for teens.

haha - stupid girls! funny... (Below threshold)
joew:

haha - stupid girls! funny how stupid they are. society has gone to hell.

rob--yeah, coming ... (Below threshold)
Carrie:

rob--

yeah, coming to nbc. looks good, but maybe a bit over the top.

Educational funding is for ... (Below threshold)
MB:

Educational funding is for education. Stick to the program America. Quit building welfare programs, broken families and the prisons to house them later in life. If you choose to make an irresponsible decision and have a baby and can't support it. Make the right decision for the child. Put it up for adoption so responsible, working adults who pay their bills can raise it.




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