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