Gloucester Pregnancy Pact

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.

Birth/Babies Urban Legends

Posted on Tue Jun 24, 2008


Getting 17 teenage girls to agree on anything would have been a genuine phenomenom.
Posted by Joe  on  Tue Jun 24, 2008  at  03:27 PM
Everybody's making a big deal about whether or not the girls actually had a pact. Let me tell you, us boys have had a pact where it concerns nailing girls, collectively, for as long as anyone can remember. Noone's making a big deal about that.
Posted by Mike B  on  Tue Jun 24, 2008  at  04:06 PM
Yeah...I've got to agree with Joe, that for 17 girls to come up with a plan and execute it together is pretty wild.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue Jun 24, 2008  at  06:00 PM
Last news story I read about this said that the principal is now saying he read that the girls had made the pact, but he can't remember where he read it.

Gee, maybe he got it in an email from a deposed African official who needs help getting his millions out of the country.

Seriously, shouldn't a principal be a little more careful about spreading rumors about his students?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Jun 25, 2008  at  02:20 AM
Principal clammed up because he realized it was a slippery slope to people finding out HE is one of the fathers...
Posted by Marvin Gaye  on  Wed Jun 25, 2008  at  08:25 AM
One of the fathers? Perhaps he's THE father of all 17 kids?

This story has had massive media coverage in the UK despite the obvious "whiff of urban legend". I doubted it the first time I saw it on the BBC news, but now every newspaper is carrying it as if it was all fact.
Posted by Croydon Bob  on  Wed Jun 25, 2008  at  08:32 AM
Why on earth would teenage girls want to get pregnant? And none over 16... maybe they need to slip some birth control into the lunches at that school.
Posted by Jackie  on  Wed Jun 25, 2008  at  11:11 AM
Cranky Media Guy has it right. I expect the principal to be fired (although I think he and the superintendent are hanging on to the fact there was some level on intention in some of the pregnancies).

The principal was stupid. As usual the media magnifies the stupid by not doing their jobs.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  on  Wed Jun 25, 2008  at  11:29 AM
these chicks need to watch the baby borrowers on nbc. the show premieres tonight at 9. i feel like it should be required reading for all teens. especially teens considering becoming pregnant, even casually considering it. hopefully this show will make them reconsider.
Posted by Kat Serret  on  Wed Jun 25, 2008  at  02:39 PM
That was a good tip Kat Serret, hopefully it works.
Posted by Fairings  on  Tue Sep 02, 2008  at  11:30 PM
I know this is an (kind of)old story but I thought the girls had said they made the pact that they would all keep their babies and help take care of them AFTER finding out so many of them were pregnant at the same time?

I feel like I'm just pushing more hoax along if that's not true though...
Posted by Elizebeth.  on  Thu Dec 11, 2008  at  08:42 PM
How exactly do these people, such a as Time magazine, journalists, this crazy radio bloke, believe that it is okay to invade these poeples privacy. How dare they accuse them of eliciting some "pact". What we need to understand is that if it were one girl to have gotten in trouble then she may have been allowed a relatively relaxed and happy pregnancy. But becuase of the volume, people believe that it is acceptable to stress out these young mothers, and make accusations. Its sick, some poeple will do anything for a story. Let them enjoy their prgnancies in peace
Posted by Sarah  on  Tue Mar 17, 2009  at  03:53 PM
okay, so i know this is all kinda old but i just recently found out about this and i saw the movie on lifetime. its still unknown to everyone whether or not there was truly a pact. im from a very small town in Washington and 1 by 1 everyone was getting pregnant. there was no pact here, these girls had nothing to do with each other in most cases. and here i am, almost 2 years later and im going on 5 months pregnant. i will be 19 in less than a month but im sure i still qualify for a teen mom. a lot of people say or ask "well, what type oif family or home did they come from" blah blah blah. it has nothing to do with that. i come from a VERY loving family with parents who have been married for 28 years and have shown me and my siblings unconditional love my whole life... it has nothing to do with what type of family you come from. and i was on birth control for 11 months before i got pregnant. i forgot ONE pill and BAM, i wound up pregnant. im not saying what these girls did is right by any means... its not. because i havent even had my baby yet and i KNOW its going to be hard. but a lot of people stereotype that all girls that get pregnant as young teens or whatever, plot to do so. or atleast thats how it seems and thats not the case. take it from someone who is there right now...
Posted by whitney  on  Wed Jan 27, 2010  at  11:15 AM
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