The “teen pregnancy pact”

Jill Stanek has an important piece about the “teen pregnancy pact” from the school in Massachusetts, where 18 students aged 16 or younger are pregnant and there may have been some type of pact to try and get pregnant.  Surprisingly (!) the media is missing some rather obvious questions and story lines. 

[Principal] Sullivan was mandated to report the pregnancies of any of his 18 students under age 16, since pregnancy is evidence a crime may have been committed.

The law would also have required the same of mandated reporter Kim Daly, the GHS school nurse who by last month had distributed 150 pregnancy tests since the beginning of the school year, according to Time. A request for a pregnancy test by a girl under 16 is demonstration she may be the victim of sexual abuse.

These incidents also beg lawsuits galore, if the absentee parents get smart.

In her press conference, Kirk tried to shift blame for the pregnancies to state and federal government funding reductions “resulting in cuts to programs and services … including support for health education.”

Not so fast. Last spring, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick rejected $700,000 in free money for abstinence teaching from the federal government. Meanwhile, Patrick approved a budget increase of $800,000 for comprehensive sex ed funding, bringing the total to $3.8 million annually.

Of course it’s not a story about sex education, because only comprehensive sex ed is taught in Massachusetts public schools.

Had this been a school system that taught abstinence, you’d best believe sex ed would be central to the story.

Had Patrick rejected comprehensive sex ed funding and increased abstinence funding, the New York Times would be pointing it out, not me.

Why isn’t the mainstream media researching Gloucester’s comprehensive sex ed curriculum? (I’m trying, but – surprise – none of the Gloucester public or school officials will call me back.)

Obviously, this drama spotlights just some of its deficiencies. As the Massachusetts Family Institute wrote:

The Gloucester girls were never taught to have a positive vision of their future, never encouraged to abstain from sexual activity until marriage, never motivated to consider the importance of raising their child with the loving support of a husband – all taught in abstinence-also education programs that are being pushed out of Massachusetts schools. …The hot topic in Gloucester now is whether to give minor girls at GHS hormonal contraceptives without their parents knowing, as if that is the solution to purposefully getting pregnant. Does the school plan to force-feed the Pill every morning? And while it bypasses parents, will it report cases of suspected child abuse for every girl under 16 requesting contraception?

The knee-jerk reaction in some circles was to blame abstinence programs.  That only fails in a couple huge ways:

  1. That school doesn’t teach abstinence and spends big bucks on comprehensive sex ed.
  2. How could teaching abstinence make kids want to deliberately get pregnant?

As pro-life blogger extraordinaire Roxanne De Luca noted:

This blogger’s take: giving contraception to people who want to get pregnant is like giving a fire extinguisher to an arsonist. 

14 thoughts on “The “teen pregnancy pact””

  1. The more I read of Jill Stanek’s work, the more I like her. 🙂

    California, which was the first state in America to reject abstinence funding (in 1996, IIRC) now has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.

    Massachusetts just rejected abstinence funding. It now has a pregnancy scandal.

    This would lead one to believe that abstinence education is not as bad as the comprehensive sex ed folks would have us believe. Nah, couldn’t be!

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  2. If I could be a teen again I would not have a child. Dont tell my daughter that, b/c she is going to watch baby borrowers and figure that out for herself… i promise

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  3. Admittedly, I’ve always been skeptical of the claim that abstinence programs produce the opposite of its goal…more teen sex and pregnancy. To me it sounds logically impossible. It is my understanding that abstinence education is always given as a part of a larger umbrella of sex education. Therefore, teens are almost always encouraged to decide for themselves. Guess what many will decide? Thus, the problem still exist because teen sex is not discouraged. What’s wrong with teaching kids that they don’t have to give in to every single urge they feel? I don’t understand, it is ok to tell kids to avoid drugs, alcohol, or overeating, but not sex?

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  4. I swear, this world is turning up side down, its taking one step forward and two steps back! These girls should all be sat down and forced to watch baby borrowers. Why? Because it’ll make them feel good.

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  5. Sometimes teen-aged girls just want to have a baby. They see their friend having one and plan showers, get excited about sonograms, feeling the baby kick, etc. To them, it’s like having a real-live baby doll. So, they want to get pregnant, too. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a group of friends planning to get pregnant at the same time and have their showers and babies together. Not having a husband to father their children is not strange to them- their mothers are doing it, and as for money, the government steps in to help. They will go find some guy to sleep with and get them pregnant. Then, they have a baby to love and to love them and all the cute baby-things that go along with it.

    Now, they will get a crash course in the hardest job there is- being a mother. Reality about their real-live baby doll will kick in about 3 am two weeks after the baby is born and their friends will not be there to help them or to entertain them.

    Could there be a crime? Most definitely could. Is there a problem with public schools and sex? Most definitely there is. Could a gaggle of girls have gotten together and planned to get pregnant? Most definitely.

    It is easy to blame government and public schools in situations like these. And there is certainly some great culpability there. But where were the girls’ parents?

    Why do we depend so on the schools to teach our children morals and values? Isn’t that the ultimate responsibility of the parents and the church?

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  6. Mike,

    You’ve just cited two amazingly biased sources – “overpopulation.org” and the research arm of Planned Parenthood, respectively.

    Europe is in a death spiral. They have massive social entitlement programmes, including very generous retirement funds, and no way to provide for it. For an entirely different perspective, read this and this.

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  7. It should be noted that the latest information seems to indicate that there was no pregnancy pact, that the girls individually decided to get pregnant (or not to use birth control).

    That doesn’t change the facts that were noted in the post.

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  8. I thought encouraging to abstain was just about saying no. I am glad to learn it’s a lot more. I wish somebody had shared it with me. I will have to find some body to share it with my daughters.

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  9. Syinly,

    Dawn Eden (who authored “The Thrill of the Chaste” and blogs at dawneden.blogspot.com) does not use the term “abstinence,” but prefers “chastity.” She said that abstinence sounds like denying yourself (which no one likes to do), while living chastely – honouring yourself, your body, your future spouse, and your current boyfriend or girlfriend – is a positive way to live one’s life.

    A short article that may be good for a teenage girl (or yourself) is Sex Ms-Education, which you can find in the Independent Women’s Forum (iwf.org). It is very fact-intensive (it’s my favourite source of citations for chastity), discussing, for example, surveys which indicate that most sexually active teenage girls specifically wish they had waited until they were older, and most sexually active teens had sex because of the (erroneous) belief that most of their peers were doing it.

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  10. I’m not too far gone from my teen years, but I think it’s ashame. I feel as if though a nice young lady would want to enjoy her life first than to take on a second life, Especially when knowing you are going to want to go out and have a good time sometimes. These girls are in my prayers and those lives they are bringing into this world. There has got to be something else to occupy young minds these days.

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