Photo Credit: Lifetime
It's a television law: Shocking news stories must be turned into TV movies. The latest is Lifetime's The Pregnancy Pact (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET), based on a real-life pact allegedly made by 17 high school girls in Gloucester, Mass. The story is told through the eyes of Sidney Bloom (Thora Birch), a Gloucester High graduate who returns to her alma mater as a journalist, to investigate a spike in teenage pregnancies at the school.
Time magazine originally reported the news item in June 2008. "Nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together," wrote Kathleen Kingsbury.
"Motherhood gives them status," said Gloucester Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Farmer, in an interview with CBS News.
The story would've been laughable if it weren't (reportedly) true. How naive could these girls be, if in fact they conspired to become pregnant simultaneously? Some commentators suggested the classmates were inspired by movies like Juno and Knocked Up, stories about characters who were cool, hip and pregnant. But how could so many girls so flippantly make such a life-altering decision? You have to wonder if some of them are now watching MTV's Teen Mom and kicking themselves for being so out of touch with the realities of raising a child.
Not surprisingly, some in Gloucester aren't happy about Lifetime's decision to rehash the shameful episode. "The [film] covers itself with a flimsy disclaimer that the story it presents is fictional," writes Mark Perigard in the Boston Herald. "But it is nonetheless set in Gloucester and includes actual news footage of local officials."
And some of those school officials dispute the facts at the heart of the story. "We took care of these kids, and we know for a fact that there was no pact," said Dr. Brian Orr and school nurse practitioner Kim Daly, in a statement issued to the Herald. (In the movie, Camryn Manheim plays Daly, who resigned in 2008 after opposition over a plan to provide contraception to students.) "The pact was totally a product of the media," Daly said. "And for the media to continue to take advantage of this idea is truly disgusting."
Everyone can agree on one thing: Whether or not a "pact" occurred, too many teen girls got pregnant in Gloucester in 2008. If the movie helps deter others from pursuing motherhood prematurely, it can't be all bad.
Do you think Lifetime should be airing a TV movie about the alleged "pregnancy pact"? Chime in below!