Pregnancy Scandal Doc Decries Teen Pregnancies

Doc in Massachusetts pregnancy scandal speaks out about sex education.

ByABC News via logo
October 2, 2008, 10:14 AM

GLOUCESTER, Mass., Oct. 2, 2008— -- The high school pediatrician at the heart of a scandal over a so-called pregnancy pact in Gloucester, Mass., this summer says that the nation is in the midst of a "teen pregnancy crisis.''

"Gloucester High School is not the issue,'' said Dr. Brian Orr, who quit his post as director of the school health clinic after the hospital group overseeing the school health center refused to allow him to offer contraceptives to students.

"The issue is why is teen pregnancy on the rise again across the country.''

The Gloucester school district is studying the pros and cons of revamping the sex education program at the high school. Officials there have enlisted the help of a panel of experts and are holding public hearings this week in which parents, students and community members can weigh in with their opinions.

"We are in a teen pregnancy crisis in this country and the question we all need to be asking is why we are not addressing it,'' Orr told ABC News Wednesday night.

The high school became the focus of a nationwide debate over teen pregnancy after Time magazine reported in June that a number of girls at the high school had made a "pact" to get pregnant and raise their children together. The school's principal, Joseph Sullivan, who had been the source of the magazine story, resigned.

Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirn denied that there had been a pact, and a city investigation led by her office reportedly found that no pact had been made.

Still, at least 17 students became pregnant this year, highlighting the question of whether reproductive health services should be offered to students there, Sullivan said. Gloucester operates one of 47 health centers statewide, authorized by the state department of health, according to the Boston Globe, which reported last month that 43 of those health centers offer reproductive health services.

Following the two public hearings -- the second of which will be held tonight at Gloucester City Hall -- the school board is expected to vote on the contraception issue at its Oct. 8 meeting, according to the Globe.