Page last updated at 20:48 GMT, Monday, 23 June 2008 21:48 UK

No pregnancy pact, says US mayor

Gloucester High School
Gloucester High School has seen a sharp rise in pregnancies

A US town mayor says there is "no evidence" to support claims that 17 Massachusetts schoolgirls became pregnant because of a "pregnancy pact".

When details first emerged of the high rate of pregnancies at Gloucester High School, the school's principal had speculated that the girls had a pact.

The number of pregnancies at the school has quadrupled since last year.

But Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk said the spike in pregnancies was comparable to increases in other cities.

"Any planned blood-oath bond to become pregnant - there is absolutely no evidence of," she said.

Memory failure

Ms Kirk said she had asked Gloucester High School's principal about his comments and he had been "foggy in his memory" about how he had come to believe there had been a pregnancy pact at the school.

"When pressed, his memory failed," she said.

The news of the Gloucester pregnancy cluster comes as statistics suggest that teenage pregnancy rates are increasing throughout the US.

Birth rates for girls aged 15 to 17 rose by 3% in 2006, the first increase since 1991, according to preliminary data released in December by the National Center for Health Statistics.

David Landry, a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based non-profit group focusing on reproductive issues, said the declining teenage pregnancy rate of recent years appeared to be reversing.

US fears of teen 'pregnancy pact'
20 Jun 08 |  Americas
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