Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gloucester Pact?

At a press conference to address the epidemic in teen pregnancies in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Mayor Carolyn Kirk said there was no evidence that some of the 17 pregnant girls had made a pact to get pregnant.

What is so compelling about this angle of this story? Seventeen girls – four times the annual figure for Gloucester High School – are pregnant. The issue isn't whether there was a pact between the girls, something is desperately wrong.

Why so much attention is focused on whether the pregnant Gloucester teens had a pact has puzzled me since the day the story broke.

I asked Barbara Huberman, Director of Education & Outreach at Advocates for Youth, to explain.

Barbara told me that many people think girls get pregnant by accident. It shocks them that some of the Gloucester teens may have gotten pregnant on purpose. I was puzzled, basically, because I wasn’t shocked. From years of working on issues related to sexual health, I know that many girls do get pregnant intentionally.

Now I understand why people may be so fascinated with what’s happening here in Gloucester. But Barbara’s explanation only underscores how much work there is to be done to educate not just our community of Gloucester, Massachusetts – but adults and young people nationally. How can we help our kids value themselves, and want and plan a future based on smart and healthy choices?


Resources
Raising Healthy Kids: Families Talk About Sexual Health
Words Can Work: When Talking With Kids About Sexual Health

Related Issues and Answers columns
Parents as educators
Postponing sex
Self-respect
Talking with kids

Related columns for young people

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