17 Pregnancies a 'Coincidence,' Says Teen

Gloucester student denies girls formed pact to purposefully get pregnant.


June 24, 2008— -- One of the pregnant teenage girls at a Massachusetts high school denied that 17 students had entered a pact in an effort to get pregnant and called the high rate of pregnancies "unlucky" and a "coincidence."

"There was definitely no pact," Lindsey Oliver, 17, who became pregnant when she was a junior, told ABC's "Good Morning America" today. "There was a group of girls already pregnant that decided they were going to help each other to finish school and raise their kids together. I think it was just a coincidence."

News of the pregnancies at Gloucester High School made headlines last week after a rumor reported in Time magazine and given credence in an interview with the school's principal that the girls promised one another to become pregnant and raise their children together.

The mayor of Gloucester also denied Monday that there was evidence of a pact and blamed the increased number of teen mothers on a lack of health education funding and the "glamorization of pregnancy" in the media.

"Beyond the statement of the principal, we have no evidence there was a pact," the mayor said. "The principal could not remember who told him that."

Kirk blamed the media's "glamorization of pregnancy" and "movies that depicted teen pregnancy as something to be desired."

She mentioned Jamie Lynn Spears, the 17-year-old sister of pop singer Britney Spears, who delivered a baby this weekend, and alluded to the recent hit film "Juno," a hit comedy about a teenager who becomes pregnant.

Oliver said the movies and pop culture had nothing to do with the pregnancy boon.

"I don't get why people think those movies are glamorizing it," Oliver said, adding that the Juno character ended up having to put her baby up for adoption.

Oliver said the school should reverse a policy that bans the school's distribution of contraception to students.

"[Officials] say they want to make a difference but won't do anything to help [students]," Oliver said. "They should be giving contraceptives out in the nurse's office."

Asked if distributing condoms and birth control would further encourage underage sex, Oliver said, "The kids are obviously having it anyway; there are 17 pregnant girls."

Mayor Kirk said that district policy did not permit the distribution of contraceptives but that the policy was under review.

Oliver and her boyfriend, Andrew Psalidas, 20, a community college student, said the pregnancy was unplanned and that Oliver was on the pill.

The identities of the other girls and their babies' fathers have not been made public.

According to the principal quoted in the Time article, one girl had sex with a 24-year-old homeless man.

Kirk would not comment on the fathers of the unborn children, saying only that under Massachusetts law, school officials would be required to report suspicions of statutory rape.

Gloucester, a socially conservative fishing town about 30 miles north of Boston, has struggled with teen pregnancy for years, though on average only four girls a year typically become pregnant at the 1,200-student high school.

In May, two officials at the high school health center resigned to protest the local hospital's refusal to distribute contraceptives through the school without parental consent.