There's one final news item I've received a lot of emails about in the past week -- and so deserves a place on the front page (though it's already in the forum
). The Gloucester Pregnancy Pact.
Seventeen girls at Gloucester High School are pregnant. According to Time
magazine, they all made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. From Time
School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head.
My first thought was that this reminded me of the prom babies rumor
I posted about last year. According to this rumor, girls try to get pregnant on prom night so they won't have to go to college. With the Gloucester pregnancy pact, we again have the notion of teenage girls conspiring to get pregnant.
Teenage girls (like teenage boys) are capable of incredibly stupid behavior, but the pregnancy pact has the whiff of urban legend. Sure enough, school officials are now throwing cold water
on the idea, claiming they never heard of such a pact until it appeared in Time
. Which isn't to say that group psychology didn't play a powerful role in influencing the girls' behavior. It obviously did. But did the girls make a premeditated pact, and then act on it? That seems highly unlikely to me.