The scandal-icious story about a supposed “pregnancy pact” between 18 teenaged girls attending Gloucester High School in Massachusetts has been all over the media lately. As you know, the mainstream media is selective about the stories they regurgitate & the chosen few stories they do tell us are usually told to shape public opinion on a specific issue or idea. So, when a story like this is so widely discussed I can’t help but wonder what I’m expected to take from it. Initially, I figured the story was another one of those convenient election year tales of teen girl promiscuity intended to scare the be-jesus out of parents & turn their attentions toward candidates that preach about Family Values and the evils of premarital sex (A.K.A. the politicians that still blame Eve for society’s ills). Upon closer inspection, I sensed the underlying message of the story was that teen pregnancy rates, which had been on the decline for fourteen years prior to Bush’s ascension to the throne, were increasing because pregnancy had gained a sort of “cool” status among underage girls. Instead of blaming the government policies that fund ineffective abstinence-only sex education, at the expense comprehensive sex ed programs that actually work, we were supposed to be pointing the finger at irresponsible teen’s that find procreation “trendy”. Now, I realize that a story about sexually active teen girls can be used as an all-purpose parable to justify any ridiculous assumptions you have about young women, teens, pregnancy, pre-marital sex, etc. etc. etc. For example, TIME magazine ran an article penned by Nancy Gibbs that uses the Gloucester girl’s story to gush about Crisis Pregnancy Centers (or CPCs).
CPCs are notorious for their use of misinformation and intimidation to keep women from seeking abortion services and the scary thing is, they out number actual clinics 2 to 1. They are not usually staffed by medical professionals. They are designed to look like clinics inside (waiting room, white lab coats, etc.), are often located near actual clinics, and use deceptive names to imply that they are full-fledged health care facilities. CPCs do not offer women referrals for abortion services or birth control. They have been known to pull fucked up shit to force women to continue their pregnancies, like extending the waiting period for pregnancy test results so that the women have time to take in all the anti-choice or religious propaganda CPC staffers can throw at them. Flat out lies about emergency contraception are common and women are told ridiculous shit like abortions cause breast cancer & infertility. In a nut shell, Crisis Pregnancy Centers pretend to offer assistance and help to pregnant women, only to confuse, lie, and guilt-trip ladies into adhering to their own moral dogma.
Now, the TIME magazine article suggests that the knocked-up teens of Gloucester were not planning pregnancies as much as they were rejecting abortion. None of the gals in question utilized the services of a CPC, as far as I can tell, but Gibbs uses the final paragraph of her story to bring them up anyhow. She writes:
This has been the mission of the crisis-pregnancy-center movement, the more than 4,000 centers and hotlines and support groups around the country that aim to talk women out of having abortions and offer whatever support they can. If not in Hollywood, then certainly in Gloucester, teen parents and their babies face long odds against success in life. Surely they deserve more sympathy and support than shame and derision, if the trend that they reflect is not a typical teenager's inclination to have sex but rather a willingness to take responsibility for the consequences.
Hmm… because a bunch of under-aged girls trying to get pregnant despite their lack of income, housing, a complete high school education, life experience, or legal sovereignty is CLEARLY a case of being responsible. Clearly.