Pregnancy Pact

From Time:

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there's been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head.

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They were living in a

They were living in a freakin' barn, weren't they?

Confused

I am confused as to where the parents of these children were. How could your 15 or 16 year old child be out having sex with a homeless man and you not know? I blame all of this on these children's parents. These girls said they did this so that they would have someone to love them................Why are their parents not showing them love? I am a 26 year old African American female and this has never crossed my mind. My mother was/is a single parent; however she always made me feel loved unconditionally.
I do not believe these girls should be made to have abortions, I think they need to have these children. They will see that not all the love in the world can put clothes on their babies' backs, or food in their bellies. I do believe that the fathers of these children should have to help take care of them. No maybe they didn't know about the pact, but they did know that having unprotected sex makes babies.
I am upset that the media has blamed this on the types of movies that these children are watching, and that fact that a lot of actresses are having babies. I watched the movie Juno, and no where in it did I see Juno and her friends making a pact to get pregnant. I saw a child who made a mistake.....and found the best way possible to fix it. Not a child who decided to sleep with the next homeless man on the street to get pregnant. As far as the stars in Hollywood....They have very good jobs, which should be setting an example for these girls that they can be anything they want to be.....and it's ok to wait to have children until you are stable.
I am totally shocked that the media has given this as much attention as they have. I think we need to get this off of the TV and out of the newspapers ASAP. Let these little girls know that this type of behavior is unacceptable.

Confused

I am confused as to where the parents of these children were. How could your 15 or 16 year old child be out having sex with a homeless man and you not know? I blame all of this on these children's parents. These girls said they did this so that they would have someone to love them................Why are their parents not showing them love? I am a 26 year old African American female and this has never crossed my mind. My mother was/is a single parent; however she always made me feel loved unconditionally.
I do not believe these girls should be made to have abortions, I think they need to have these children. They will see that not all the love in the world can put clothes on their babies' backs, or food in their bellies. I do believe that the fathers of these children should have to help take care of them. No maybe they didn't know about the pact, but they did know that having unprotected sex makes babies.
I am upset that the media has blamed this on the types of movies that these children are watching, and that fact that a lot of actresses are having babies. I watched the movie Juno, and no where in it did I see Juno and her friends making a pact to get pregnant. I saw a child who made a mistake.....and found the best way possible to fix it. Not a child who decided to sleep with the next homeless man on the street to get pregnant. As far as the stars in Hollywood....They have very good jobs, which should be setting an example for these girls that they can be anything they want to be.....and it's ok to wait to have children until you are stable.
I am totally shocked that the media has given this as much attention as they have. I think we need to get this off of the TV and out of the newspapers ASAP. Let these little girls know that this type of behavior is unacceptable.

Teens don't make good parents

Its called a condom, in a year or so when they are all feeding at one in the morning instead of watching chick flicks to the wee hours in their dorm room they are going to wish they had used one.

Also in Juno she gives the child up for adoption, these girls should do the same. I would hate to know I was the product of my mom being a stupid teen and making a pact. I don't think anyone who is still in school should ever keep the kid even if you can do a "good" job someone can do it better, face it in this day and age with out an education you are kind of screwed and its hard to have a baby in a college apartment.

u have no freaking idea what

u have no freaking idea what ur talking about do u now how hard it is to give up a baby after u see it the first time hear its heartbeat or feel it move inside of u its emotanilly tramatizing

Welfare

These girls better get themselves a job because I am not going to work my ass off so they can collect welfare. You should only get pregnant if you are completely stable and can support yourself and your family.

Couple of things

First, the 1996 welfare reform set a limit of five years for people to be able to receive benefits. But in places with chronic unemployment, like mill towns, those rules may be relaxed. A former coworker from W. Virginia had great stories about a relative who was "in school" so eligible for benefits and had a boat and four-wheeler. Bottom line. People are gonna be on welfare. Sometimes they are college students. Sometimes they are working class families who just can't seem to make those $6-an-hour paychecks stretch. Sometimes it's gonna be people who game the system. Get over it. Seriously. Bitching about it is not a good look.(Full disclosure: I work 40+ hours a week, don't have any kids and spent my stimulus check on bills)

I wanted to comment on some posts that question the big deal over these teens being pregnant so young since in other cultures they would be considered more than old enough. I agree that in a developing nation these girls might be mothers several times over by their teen years. But they'd also be dead(likely in childbirth) at 50. Children occupy a defined place in American culture. We place restrictions on them to protect them, because we recognize that cognitively they aren't as capable of making good decisions and conceptualizing consequence as adults. You wouldn't let your 12-year-old drive on the highway just because she can back out of the driveway, would you?

Case in point, these girls making a pact to raise their children together. Some would argue this is no different from adults who might want to have children in close proximity to their friends. I would argue that those adults would still have taken into account their ability to financially and emotionally support a baby(this of course includes whether or not they have a partner and support system). Clearly, these girls did not consider this. Because if they did, they would realize that as teenagers they have virtually no earning power and that the responsibility will fall on their parents. That alone suggests that they were immature, irresponsible and selfish for making decisions that will affect their whole family solely to be a part of a crowd. And we all know what our parents said about following the crowd...

Let's face it

Our culture promotes the "miracle" of childbirth. My wife has wanted to have kids since the day we were married. For women it is a rite of passage and most of them are taught, from the time they are 5 years old, that having a baby(bringing life into the world) is the greatest accomplishment they will ever experience. Even loving and supportive parents still reflect this idea. Young males(having been one myself) are taught that sex is a good thing, and is something that is necessary for your ascendancy into "manhood". To me, this is not shocking at all. Education is something that our country is lacking greatly, but parents having the time to monitor and mentor their children is somewhat of a greater problem. Income is not a factor anymore. A lower income man and woman are working 60 hours or more a week to survive. A higher income person(perhaps a manager) is working the same amount of hours or more in order to keep their jobs. Kids do not realize that this is being done for their survival or for their comfort. They just need attention.

a Hoax

Thier was no pact,noone from the school new about it.the first time any of the kids from school heard about it was from the news.

i just wish i was there to

i just wish i was there to help those girls achieve their goal

Is this really news?

People get pregnant all the time. Young girls get pregnant all the time- young girls of ALL races. There is no accountablity anymore- blaming this on movies-um they became preggo because they had sex with someone. The thing that I am concerned with is that this was all over the news this past weekend. Are we not invovled right now in a war? What about the upcoming election and paying 900 dollars to fill up your gas tank? I guess people enjoy this kind of news because it is a diversion from the things that we should be worried about. Who really cares about this outside of their community? I mean in the grand scheme of things it is really a minute footnote on the state of our decaying country. Really sad.

1st off

When i first cam about hearing this news i did not know anything about it but after reading the story and some of these comments i was in shock from what Ive seen most of you are adults and acting immature with an exception of the few i mean yes a pregnancy pact not one of the best ideas no race or movies or even parents have anything to do with the matter i mean what if they didn't have a TV?or what if there parents were actually good parents but the kids were hard headed i mean I'm sure they were not pressured into doing this they sat down and made this decision just because it was a stupid decision doesn't mean their instantly going to be on welfare or there parents will have to take care of the baby I'm sure many teenage mothers would be outraged by those comments as for the girls being able to take care of their babies yes it will be hard because in most states if your under the age of 17 all you can get as a child is a summer job and yes it would have been a smart decision to finish school first but i mean who wants to have kid when there 40 i mean some people lose their ability to have kids after a certain age sometimes and your most fertile when your young but I'm not saying being in your teens is the right age either and as far as praise go no they do not deserve praise but the rudeness going on i mean I'm sure putting this in the news was humiliating enough but not to have any support is even worse wouldst all of you feel dumb if when they had their children all of them were fine and had jobs and made it threw college how about that?...just wondering

Again I live in this town

Again I live in this town and pretty much know of the families in question...NO these children are going to be a finacial burden for me the tax payer as for alot of the single mothers of these girls are on the system themselves. So don't tell me there is some kind of good to come from this. Plain and simple we live in a society that gives a girl the choice of having a baby or not ie: birth control, abstinence, adoption and YES ABORTION!!! We are not a 3rd world nation where it is part of the culture that a 14yr. old girl has 15 kids...and guess what in those 3rd world nations the family of the girl helps in raising those babies. Again Gloucester is not a tiny village in East Africa!! These girls wanted to get pregnant and thats what they did and it didn't matter to them what anyone else thought not even their own families. SELFISH, IMMATURE AND TOO YOUNG TO RAISE A CHILD AND STILL BE A KID THEMSELVES!

This is not some kind of mass messiahs sent down from the heavens, it's not a Catholic thing, it has nothing to do with a failing fishing industry (for that has been failing for at least 20 yrs My father was a commerical fisherman in this town for 50 yrs.)it was just a handful of girls who made a choice that they are going to have to live with for the rest of their lives based on their wants and needs over the everything else.

Again I live in this town

Again I live in this town and pretty much know of the families in question...NO these children are going to be a finacial burden for me the tax payer as for alot of the single mothers of these girls are on the system themselves. So don't tell me there is some kind of good to come from this. Plain and simple we live in a society that gives a girl the choice of having a baby or not ie: birth control, abstinence, adoption and YES ABORTION!!! We are not a 3rd world nation where it is part of the culture that a 14yr. old girl has 15 kids...and guess what in those 3rd world nations the family of the girl helps in raising those babies. Again Gloucester is not a tiny village in East Africa!! These girls wanted to get pregnant and thats what they did and it didn't matter to them what anyone else thought not even their own families. SELFISH, IMMATURE AND TOO YOUNG TO RAISE A CHILD AND STILL BE A KID THEMSELVES!

This is not some kind of mass messiahs sent down from the heavens, it's not a Catholic thing, it has nothing to do with a failing fishing industry (for that has been failing for at least 20 yrs My father was a commerical fisherman in this town for 50 yrs.)it was just a handful of girls who made a choice that they are going to have to live with for the rest of their lives based on their wants and needs over the everything else.

for the person who said that

for the person who said that they should give up their babies your a dumb human being if they could do a good job who is to say someone could do better how would you feel if you just found out your mom did that to you even though she could have took care of you on a good salary but gave you up because a millionaire could do a better job?

These young women are

These young women are leading the way for teens to become moms before they miss the chance to get a husband. however, i feel they would be wise to study what it takes to be a parent. like on that show Baby Borrowers where teens practice breastfeeding on other peoples kids.

They Should Have

They should have thought through it before they decided to get pregnant. Personally, I think they're nuts!! These girls that are at that school need to go through councilling whether they're in the pregnancy pact or not because these people don't know who's in it and who's not! Plus, the school board needs to get their act together to stop it. Along with city mayor!

ok seriously it doesnt

ok seriously it doesnt matter how much info what race or what god they pray to they WANTED to be mothers and they knew how to do it unprotected sex with who ever would give it to them. stop pointing blame and let it go your just giving them an added bonus.... their 15 min of fame!

the real problem

The issue is simply a moral one. The parents did not raise their children to believe that having sex outside of marriage is sin against God. The Bible clearly teaches this. There are so many consequences of not following God's perfect plan. The girl's are incredibly foolish, but I put the weight of the blame on the parents for not raising them properly. I think the babies should be put up for adoption. These irresponsible teens should not be able to continue to attend school and put the babies in daycare at the school (ridiculous !!!). Oh, and let their parents take most of the responsibility. Would everyone please wake up! You can't take God and the Bible out and expect that everyone will be fine! Our schools are teaching kids how to have "safe sex", but what good did that do these girls? They wanted to get pregnant because they're rebellious. Rebellion is something that is dealt with when you teach your children about God and they want to please Him with their lives. These girls obviously don't care about doing what's right and have no shame.

Amen , to that one.

Amen , to that one.

I have been seeing this on

I have been seeing this on tv and I came online to find the rest of the story.
As far as I can tell there is no rest of the story.
Why is this news?
Why do we have to find a scapegoat here?
Why do I even need to know about this?

I really don't get it.

Perhaps a hoax

Hello you dumb fucks!

Umm.. hello.. why in gods name would a bunch of girls PLAN to get pregnant? That just sounds dumb, and illogical. It was just a bunch of accidents. Stupid accidents i must say. But people make mistakes, and you can be catholic, christian, jewish, w.e. , you can still make the same mistakes. And, um.. Teen pact you should be talking about sluts you nigger bitch. ^_^ your welcome.

Race, Religion, Abortion, Location...you SIMPLETONS!

These girls were simply imbecilic, and that's that. It has nothing to do with whether they were religious or not. It has nothing to do with exposing white girls for the stuff black girls do all the time...which again, is NOTHING you want to be boasting about. It may have something to do with whether their parents gave two shits about teaching them the intricacies and dangers of casting your life to the winds by having a child at such a young age, but then, it's perfectly possible their parents did their best to teach their children, and the children simply ignored their parents' imploring lessons. If the girls suddenly decide to get an abortion, WHO CARES!? To come in here and start a storm about HOW TERRIBLE ABORTION IS seems just as immature as the black woman coming in here and bitching about how white girls are getting attention for something black girls do all the time, or for the atheist to come in here and diss on Catholics for having arranged pregnancies. Trying to stereotype a cultural reason for these girls' irresponsible actions is as pointless as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. If you really want to know what caused this mass pregnancy, why not be intelligent about it? Go to the source, and ask the girls why they would want to arrange such a ludicrous event. Or better yet, just drop it. So the girls did something stupid, so what? We've all done stupid things in our lives. Why does the news only report stupidity these days, only to incite the EXACT SAME irrational arguments about RELIGION, RACE, and SOCIAL CLASS EVERY EFFING TIME!?!?!?!?!?!? If you REALLY want to ask "what's this world come to," then maybe you ought to look more at the way you lowly citizens react to EVERY SINGLE BIT OF NEGATIVE NEWS THE MEDIA PRESENTS YOU WITH! If you always react with the same irrational arguments, you will always be presented with the same irrational stories. Start with yourselves before you attempt to figure out somebody else's inner demons. Adieu.

from the area.

being from rockport and working in gloucester has been interesting in the past week or so. i have heard all the news stories from bbc to abc, ap, time magazine to the local gloucester daily times. to hear that 18 girls under the age of sixteen are pregnant is most definately alarming, has anyone considered the fact that most likely these girls are victim of a vicious rumour gone array? Taken and twisted beyond the prying ears of the murmurs in the hallway, perhaps if any pact was made at all it was after the fact to stick together against the criticism of what should have only been their peers, but now invovles the entire world?

Im only twenty years of age yet 12 years ago i became an aunt. My sister being 20 at the time had a difficult time being a young mother but never took it to be anything less than a blessing of life.

Regardless of sexual education, kids may be naive but are not dumb. They know unprotected sex as well as protected sex can result in pregnancy or stds. Its silly to think that even with more sexual education some teenagers arent going to engage in sexual activity. Blaming parents, circumstances, income, race, location, all provide no answer to the problems that involve sexual activity. What needs to be done now is to look at the situation, they are pregnant, there is nothing that is going to change that now. Finding solutions to upcoming problems is the only other feasible resoultion, and while everyone is pointing fingers at who is to blame, perhaps they should be looking into the future, rather than focusing on their undeniably less than perfect hindsight.

What do you expect to happen

What do you expect to happen to young girls in such a sexually restricted environment? This time is hard for girls, and at age 16 girls naturally would be experimenting. But in a culture that represses sex and emphesises the need to be chaste, especially at such a young age, the youths must have felt the desire to rebel against the anti-sexual nature of Americas society and embrace a different attitude towards intercourse. The nature of these girls levels of maturity obviously brought out this natural desire for rebellion and sexual exploration that brings them to womanhood out in a totally inappropriate, silly fashion. I thin this problem is deep-rooted in the american society.

I am a seventeen year old girl from england. I have always been brought up in a household with a healthy attitude to sex. My parents are open about their sexual lives with me, and im the same with them. I am sexually active, and i always use contraception. I have never got pregnant, or thought i was, and hence im free to explore my sexual self, always safely. I could not imagine this happening in europe.

anti-sexual nature of

anti-sexual nature of Americas society

Perhaps you haven't heard of a Ms. Paris Hilton. In America, we tend to prefer out-and-out whoredom over sexual awareness per se... >_>

"Assume" makes an ASS of U and ME

You people saying this is a racial thing are idiots because NOWHERE have I seen the race of all the girls reported. They could all be Martians and none of you would know. And there is probably more than one race involved.

You people saying Abstinence programs failed these girls are idiots because you don't even know whether they'd ever been through an Abstinence program, or whether their school offers one. By the fact that their school had a health clinic that offers pregnancy tests (and presumably "family planning aids", as most such clinics do), it's a pretty good bet that none of these girls have ever heard the word "abstinence" uttered in a school. But I don't hear you blaming the Planned Parenthood crowd for failing people with their school clinics (also a dubious suggestion, but better supported by the known facts of this case).

You people saying crap about Catholics are just bigots. And I'm not a Catholic.

If this is what passes for "intelligence" in the blogosphere, I'm surprised all of you haven't entered preganacy pacts too. Sheesh.

"Assume" makes an ASS of U and ME

Bravo! Enough said. You win. By the way, I'm pretty sure yours was the only entry whose content was entirely spelled correctly. People, YOU ARE is "you're", NOT "your"! (Sorry, had to get that off my chest.) I applaud you. You made your point without an over-abundance of classless swearing and name-calling. An actual leve-haded adult. Yea!

It's Not Our Fault...Or Our Problem!

First of all, after reading some of these comments I'd like to point out that race, religion, or region has NOTHING to do with these pregnancies! And it's completely immature to think so! This could have been anyone! These 17 girls wanted these children for status in a small community, love, and attention. Sadly, it is too late for them to realize a pet or their parents COULD'VE given them two out of the three. And completing high school and getting into a FANTASTIC college could've given them status in the financially depressed town. (No offense to the people who live there!) Which brings me to another point. They OBVIOUSLY haven't paid enough attention to what's going on around them! Children cost money! Lots and LOTS of money! If these girls want to be the kind of mothers that are looked up to by their children and/or the typical "soccer mom", then they're going to need FANTASTIC jobs, AMAZING skills, or A LOT of money! The fathers are in high school and one of the fathers is a 24-year-old HOMELESS man! Do you honestly think they'll support the girls and the children? The problem with SOME teenagers is that they're too reliant on their parents. (examples: money, extreme problems, clothes, etc.) They want to get away with the adult games, but don't want to deal with the adult consequence. And these girls are doing just that. They all intentionally got pregnant and now they're saying, "Oh! *giggle* My parents will help me! So...it's all good!". Uhhh ladies??? Your parents won't always be around! You might have babysat, HEY you might even have siblings, but it is SOOO not the same! When you're tired or busy...you send them to their parents, or to bed. When you ARE the parents, under 18, and alone...it's like parenting x2! And you're not ALWAYS going to have single children! There's always a chance you could have twins or even triplets!!!

Lastly, and I know I've talked a lot, why blame hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for these pregnancies? I'm a high school student and after seeing these movies I didn't want to jump in bed with anyone! And while you're blaming those great movies, why not blame Shrek the Third or Father of the Bride II? Or any other movie with pregnancies??? It's just sad people have to always find something to blame for every single problem, when the truth of the matter is...THEY CHOSE MOTHERHOOD BY THEMSELVES! And all we can do is sit back, relax, and let them take care of what they wanted.

**I agree with the fact that the abstinence program has flaws. You can't just walk up to any high schooler and just say, "don't have sex" without any explaination. Kids and teens need a long and complex talk about a complex subject. Including diseases, outcomes, protection, etc. would be valuable if you want your kids or students to get a full understanding about the subject. I reccomend watching "THE BABY BORROWERS" on MSNBC every Wednesday 8/7c for a good laugh and a great lesson!