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How two words some guy thought he overheard created an international media reaction

July 6th, 2008     by Cate Simpson     Comments

Since Catherine posted on the “pregnancy pact” that TIME reported at a high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, I thought we should include the more recent developments on that story.

What emerged, after several days of musings from everybody but the girls themselves on what might have motivated such a pact, and various articles condemning them for being everything from irresponsible to radically right-on to borderline delusional, is that there seems not to have been a pact after all.

TIME hasn’t seen fit to publish a correction, although they did release this follow-up article reporting that the school’s principal is now “foggy in his memory” of how he heard about the pact in the first place, and that no one else has been able to confirm its existence.

The comment by principal Joseph Sullivan that sparked the first article deserves repeating:

“Sullivan told TIME on June 11… that “a lack of birth control played no part” in a quadrupling of the number of teen pregnancies at the school this year compared with last year. “That bump was because of seven or eight sophomore girls,” Sullivan told TIME. “They made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together.”

Of course, what possible connection could there be between a lack of birth control and pregnancy?

Still, nobody has hazarded a reasonable guess at how seventeen girls came to be pregnant by the end of the school year. Peer pressure and small-town boredom don’t quite do it for me as an explanation.

Tags: media savvy

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