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Teenage girls made pact to get pregnant together

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#1 starchild



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    Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:24 AM

    Has anyone else heard about this?

    Pregnancy Boom at Gloucester High - 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.

    The question of what to do next has divided this fiercely Catholic enclave. Even with national data showing a 3% rise in teen pregnancies in 2006—the first increase in 15 years—Gloucester isn't sure it wants to provide easier access to birth control. In any case, many residents worry that the problem goes much deeper. The past decade has been difficult for this mostly white, mostly blue-collar city (pop. 30,000). In Gloucester, perched on scenic Cape Ann, the economy has always depended on a strong fishing industry. But in recent years, such jobs have all but disappeared overseas, and with them much of the community's wherewithal. "Families are broken," says school superintendent Christopher Farmer. "Many of our young people are growing up directionless."

    The girls who made the pregnancy pact—some of whom, according to Sullivan, reacted to the news that they were expecting with high fives and plans for baby showers—declined to be interviewed. So did their parents. But Amanda Ireland, who graduated from Gloucester High on June 8, thinks she knows why these girls wanted to get pregnant. Ireland, 18, gave birth her freshman year and says some of her now pregnant schoolmates regularly approached her in the hall, remarking how lucky she was to have a baby. "They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Ireland says. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."

    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.

    But by May, after nurse practitioner Kim Daly had administered some 150 pregnancy tests at Gloucester High's student clinic, she and the clinic's medical director, Dr. Brian Orr, a local pediatrician, began to advocate prescribing contraceptives regardless of parental consent, a practice at about 15 public high schools in Massachusetts. Currently Gloucester teens must travel about 20 miles (30 km) to reach the nearest women's health clinic; younger girls have to get a ride or take the train and walk. But the notion of a school handing out birth control pills has met with hostility. Says Mayor Carolyn Kirk: "Dr. Orr and Ms. Daly have no right to decide this for our children." The pair resigned in protest on May 30.

    Gloucester's elected school committee plans to vote later this summer on whether to provide contraceptives. But that won't do much to solve the issue of teens wanting to get pregnant. Says rising junior Kacia Lowe, who is a classmate of the pactmakers': "No one's offered them a better option." And better options may be a tall order in a city so uncertain of its future. —with reporting by Kimberley McLeod/New York

    #2 cessyboston

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      Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:48 AM

      SO CRAZY....wow..they have been talking about this for awhile in the news here in boston it is so crazy....its so sad..there lioves will be changed forever...i feel bad for the little babies....
      Married oct 10th 2008 ~ proud parents to Miss Sophia Emma feb 2, 2010

      #3 Hartyt509

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        Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:51 AM

        As I was reading this - a report came on about it on our radio!! So its gone international lol

        Something has to be wrong with the social system in that town for kids wanting to do this!! sorry if anyone lives there - no disrespect intended

        #4 yamille

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          Posted 20 June 2008 - 07:53 AM

          Wow. That article is disturbing. There are many things happening in the news lately having to do with kids and the "pack mentality". There was that case of the cheerleading squad beating the crap out of one girl, videotaping it and posting on you tube and also that group of nine 3rd graders that planned on killing their teacher and brought in handcuffs, knives and a gun. This is so frighthening. A pack mentality can be so influential when there are unstable people in the group. Adolescents especially are very much swayed by the group decision. It sounds like these girls were obviously lonely, possibly neglected and ignorant. It scares me to read these things becuase I can't even imagine having a kid that I would send to school. Crazy things are happening in schools everywhere- not just underpriveledged inner city areas. One of my internship sites works with young girls who have babies and are abandoned by their family and living in this home. They are all super angry- at the kids, at the guy, at themselves. There are so many issues to work through. It's sad really. It sounds simple but a lot of it really begins with what is happening at home and what their parents model. It's a lot of responsibility but it's true.
          Hoping this doesn't become a trend.

          #5 Karen

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            Posted 20 June 2008 - 08:01 AM

            I just heard this on the news. Crazy and very sad. These girls have no idea what they have gotten themselves into,
            <center><embed src="http://www.widdlytin...nancyticker.swf" FlashVars="t1=Baby Lambert is on the way&b=7&c=0xCC00CC&f=5&y=2010&m=4&d=14" quality="high" wmode="transparent" width="430" height="115" name="Pregnancy Ticker" align="middle"...

            #6 starchild



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              Posted 20 June 2008 - 08:06 AM

              I totally agree with you guys. It's one issue to have an "oops" but to plan this with girlfriends because it's fun and you don't see any better options for yourself? So sad

              And Harty, no disrespect taken here. You're right, something is definitely off.

              #7 hollisandsteph

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                Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:12 AM

                I have a cousin who is 5 years younger than me. She admited to me that she and 10 or so of her friends all planned to get pregnant together. She admitted this to me at barly 15 and ready to give birth!!! I cannot remember how many of the girls were also pregnant or had given birth but i know several had. She now has a beautiful daughter that is 11 years old and in a very inconsistant situation. My cousin is always switching jobs and boyfriends and is always moving. She is only 26 years old and wants to live the life of a 20 something. She doesn't have that luxury. She gets little help from her own mother and depends tooo much on one of her older sisters. Last I herd the father was not in the childs life. Not that I am surprised about that. It is just sad cause once the reality sets in for all these highschool girls it is not going to be pretty!

                #8 azhuskergirl

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                  Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:13 AM

                  such a sad story. it made my stomach turn when I first heard about it. I just want to take those girls & slap some sense into them.....well, before they conceived.

                  #9 Copita

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                    Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:30 AM

                    I just heard this on the news this morning.


                    And one of the father's is a 24 year old homeless man.

                    When I was 17, I was TERRIFIED of having a baby. The thought never even entered my mind.................

                    #10 Jacqueline

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                      Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:37 AM

                      oh what a sad story. its hard enough for women who have babies as adults WITH the help of a husband let alone 17 yrs old and without the help. and our bodies change so much, mentally and physically! i'm just speechless to this and i feel for thier lil babies :o( geez- at that age, i wasnt plotting with my friends like that. i was NO angel but i didnt even think about having a baby! i understand mistakes happen but to actually sit there and plan this out, ?? wtf?? craziness.

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