Monday, June 23, 2008

Was There A Pregnancy Pact in Massachusetts? Why It Doesn't Matter

So, to my readers who are parents, did you have the teachable moment on Jamie Lynn Spears and the pregnancy pact this weekend?

We did at dinner on Friday night. My almost 15 year old son said he doesn't believe that these teenage girls came up with any such thing. He imagined that one girl may have said it as a goof in being asked why so many girls were pregnant in this one high school ("yeah, we got together and signed an agreement.")

As the news unfolded over the weekend, he's not the only one who doesn't believe the principal's declaration to Time magazine.

But, it really doesn't matter, does it? Because the fact remains that 17 teen girls in one high school are having babies this year. I don't believe as some of the folks on the news do that it's the result of the media. Rather, as I said in Friday's posts, one can guess what motivated this young women to either try to get pregnant or not do enough to avoid it: it's probably about them not seeing futures for themselves, not having hope, not having self esteem, not doing well in school, not having close relationships with their parents, and not having easy access to contraception and the the type of high quality sexuality education that goes beyond information to helping young people develop the MOTIVATION to avoid pregnancy as teens.

Since these girls and their families have not spoken to the media (and I hope they do not!), we don't really know. But what we do know is the school board voted not to offer contraceptives, the director of the clinic resigned in protest, and 17 young women are on the way to becoming mothers. Those girls need love and support and prenatal care and parenting courses -- and the town, like all other towns, needs to do everything they can to help teen girls AND teen boys make healthy sexual decisions, including preventing pregnancies.

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