FRIDAY June 20, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A Massachusetts
high school has noted an unusual phenomenon this year, 17 girls at an age younger
than 16, becoming pregnant compared to normally 4 each year.
The principal of Gloucester High was cited by Time as saying
that the girls wanted to get pregnant and raise their babies together.
Principal Joseph Sullivan told the magazine that the girls
were visiting the school clinic for pregnancy tests and they looked more upset
when they were not pregnant.
He said when they found they were pregnant; they were
excited and traded high fives and started talking about baby showers.
These girls reportedly, at least half of them, made a pact
to get pregnant and raise their children together.
They went out to sleep with young men
including a 24-year old homeless man and got their "jobs done".
Officials are investigating the men’s ages and considering
statutory rape charges against the men who were not supposed to sleep with teens,
but caused pregnancies in the high school girls.
In Massachusetts, it is illegal for adult men to have sex
with anyone younger than 16.
The school district's superintendent was cited as saying
that these pregnant girls generally "lack self-esteem," and have a
lack of love in their lives.
Massachusetts ranks 10th in the US in teen pregnancy and
birth rates. About 6 percent of girls age 15 got pregnant in 2000 in the state,
according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Giving birth at such a young age could make the young
mothers' lives extremely difficult and cause a significant burden on the
society as well although they may have slightly cut their risk of breast cancer
because of their early pregnancy.
Amanda Ireland, a local teenager mother who has just
graduated from Gloucester High School knows better than most of her pairs how
bad it could be to have a baby at young age.
"Don't try to get pregnant. People
say they know what it's like because they have younger siblings, but they
really have no idea" she told the BBC.
Data from the NCPTG shows that teen childbearing caused
taxpayers $109 million in Massachusetts for the year of 2004 compared to $9.1
The annual cost of a
birth associated with a teen mother age 17 or younger was more than $6,001 in
Having a baby likely forces the young mothers to drop out of
high school, affecting their employment and social status. And they are more likely
than others to end up in poverty.
Early childbearing can also have a negative psychosocial
impact on the infant. Children born to teen mothers are more likely to have
developmental disabilities and behavioral issues.
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