I'm sure by now you've all heard about the pregnancy pact made by upwards of 17 high school girls in Gloucester, MA to get pregnant and then raise the babies together. And yeah, one of the girls was impregnanted by a 22 year old homeless man, which proves that this has nothing to do with sexual desire, and everything to do with a desire for love. So snark aside, I have to say that this is kind of really heartbreaking. One Gloucester High School grad, who popped out a baby freshman year, said that the girls did it because they thought it'd be "cool" to have someone who would always love them. Is that not the saddest thing you've ever heard? A huge chunk of people in Gloucester live perilously below the poverty line, and you have to assume these girls are coming from atypical and potentially harmful family backgrounds. And clearly their relationships with men have soured, or they feel that they have, and they're only teenagers. I mean, it breaks my heart, really it does, because the truth is I can understand their logic. I'm not condoning it, obviously it's terrible, and it's definitely not the way I think, but if you're a young girl with a broken family, maybe a history of sexual abuse and unfulfilling relationships with the men in your life, including boyfriends and fathers, then I can honestly wrap my head around why they would want to do this. I know it sounds crazy, and they're clearly romanticizing the idea of having a child, but I can't blame them for just wanting someone to love them unconditionally. I mean, isn't that kind of what we all want?
If anything good comes out of this, hopefully there will be a radical transformation of the sex education system in Gloucester. I don't think that the administration should be accused of coddling young mothers - those who get pregnant deserve all the help they can get - but they definitely need a more comprehensive sex ed program that extends beyond freshman year. And it needs to teach lessons about the consequences of unprotected sex, not just about contraception. Hopefully this story will spark continued reforms to the abstinence-only rhetoric that treats our bodies like secrets we're not allowed to talk about or experiment with. These girls obviously weren't taught the repercussions of teenage motherhood, and now, unfortunately, all 17 of them will be suffering the consequences.
Earlier: Abstinence: It Doesn't Work