Pregnancy pacts among teenage girls are really nothing new. The 1986 movie “Peggy Sue Got Married” featured one.
When high school senior Peggy Sue said she no longer cared who her boyfriend Charlie dated, best friend Maddy snapped to attention.
“But I always thought you were going to marry Charlie, and Carol would marry Walter, and I’d marry Arthur,” Maddy protested to Peggy Sue. “We’d all live on the same street and take our kids to the park together and have barbecues every Sunday. It’s going to spoil everything if you and Charlie break up.”
The 1960s story line, of course, assumed there would be weddings first, babies later.
Today’s big story line has 17 unwed Massachusetts high school girls making a pact to get pregnant together.
The “pact” part of the story is now being downplayed, but what’s not in dispute is that the number of pregnancies at Gloucester High School jumped from four to 17 in a year.
A favorite media angle is to imply that these pregnancies might not have happened if Gloucester High officials had allowed the distribution of birth-control without parental notification, as some health experts wanted.
This is where I would like to beg to differ. This story points up a gaping hole in teen-pregnancy prevention, which is that we don’t really know what to say to teens who have decided it’s time to get pregnant. You know, like the Gloucester girl who reportedly said “Sweet!” when she got her positive test results.
There are quite a few happy teen mothers out there. In fact, 22 percent of teen births are “intended,” according to the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. (Some of these teen moms are married, of course.)
But teens who want a baby will laugh off exhortations to use birth control and ignore pleas to stay abstinent. Since these are our two main messages, what else can we do?
First, understand why some girls decide to get pregnant.
“I like babies, having something that’s mine,” one teen mother told researchers Jennifer J. Frost and Selene Oslak. “It’s weird, but something or someone is telling me to have a baby,” said another mother.
Some teens will see having a baby as a way to confirm their love relationships.View Entire Story
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor. Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A politically conservative and morally liberal Hebrew alpha male hunts left-wing viper
A collection of communities writers columns on Benghazi
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc