It seems there wasn’t a pregnancy pact in Gloucester after all.
According to Mayor Carolyn Kirk, there is no evidence that the pregnant teens had actually made a premeditated “pact” to become pregnant. The Mayor suggested that the young women had instead made an agreement to support each other in raising their children upon learning of their pregnancies. This account was subsequently confirmed by one of the pregnant teens. The good news is that the pregnant teens apparently also agreed to help each other graduate.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that teen pregnancy rates have soared in an economically depressed and socially conservative city, at a school where contraception is not available without parental consent and where (young) motherhood can seem like a bright option.
The Mayor blamed the city’s dramatically increased teen pregnancy rate on the media’s “glamorization of pregnancy” and a lack of health education funding. Assuming that by “health education” you mean comprehensive sexual education, Mayor Kirk, we agree whole-heartedly that its absence could have contributed to this phenomenon. But it also seems clear that these young women didn’t see the compelling reasons to delay motherhood; they didn’t think about the value of taking a few years (or decades) to develop their own skills and ambitions before helping a child develop his or hers. This story might have turned out differently if these young women had been aggressively encouraged to day-dream about their personal goals; had been taught to believe in their own potential; had felt like they had options available to them.