Kids Having Babies
Reporter/Editor: Tala Dowlatshahi
Camera: Garland McLaurin
TV NEWS HOST: Now to a disturbing story out of Gloucester, Massachusetts.
TALA DOWLATSHAHI: Seventeen girls at Gloucester High School not only got pregnant, but according to some it was no accident.
MAN: Minus or plus?
WOMAN: There it is. Little, pink plus sign is so unholy.
MAN: That ain’t no Etch A Sketch. This is one doodle that can’t be undid, home skillet.
(END OF FILM CLIP)
TEXT ON SCREEN: In recent weeks, teen pregnancy has been all over the media. ANP went behind the hype to visit a community health clinic that serves pregnant women and girls.
Developing Families Center
Northeast Washington, DC
LISA UNCLES, STAFF MIDWIFE, DEVELOPING FAMILIES CENTER: Any allergies to food or drugs? None that you know of?
DAJON, FIRST-TIME VISITOR, 14 YEARS OLD: No, none.
UNCLES: No allergies? How old are you?
UNCLES: Fourteen. Date of birth?
DAJON: Nine, eight, nine-three.
UNCLES: Nine, eight, nine-three.
TEXT ON SCREEN: The US has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any developed country in the world. One in three teenage girls in the United States becomes pregnant.
UNCLES: For me it’s a public health issue. Part of it is because I and people like me have not done a good enough job at educating, haven’t done a good enough job of getting birth control out there.
UNCLES: So I just want to listen to the heartbeat. How’s the baby move?
DAJON: It don’t move. It don’t move. But my friend’s baby, she eight months. Her baby moving, right?
UNCLES: And you can see it.
UNCLES: Well, you’re going to get there.
UNCLES: They come to the Healthy Babies for free pregnancy tests. Once a month, every cycle, they come, hoping to be pregnant, and hoping to have some person to love and to love them back and somebody to care for.
UNCLES: That’s the baby. Do you want a boy? So why do you want a boy?
DAJON: ‘Cause I don’t want no girl. Can’t be like me.
UNCLES: She’s going to be another you.
UNCLES: Most of them, it’s not planned, it’s not intentional, especially for the teens.
DOWLATSHAHI: Like, do you see a lot of girls who are pregnant your age?
DAJON: A lot on the street. I see a lot of people on the streets that’s pregnant now, like this is the season to get pregnant. I don’t know why.
DOWLATSHAHI: What do you plan on studying when you go back to school? What do you want to be?
DAJON: I want to go to college. I want to be a PO.
DOWLATSHAHI: What’s a PO?
DAJON: A probation officer.
DOWLATSHAHI: Probation officer.
DAJON: It was planned.
UNCLES: It was a plan? The two of you planned it? How old is he?
DAJON: He’s sixteen—no, seventeen.
UNCLES: Seventeen? So the plan was to make a baby. Okay. So are you happy?
DAJON: Kind of.
UNCLES: So kind of in between happy—. So why aren’t you happy?
DAJON: Because I’m too young.
UNCLES: ‘Cause you’re too young?
DAJON: I’ve thought about it.
UNCLES: So when did you decide you were too young?
DAJON: After it happened.
UNCLES: After it happened. Will he be coming for the birth?
UNCLES: In some of these cases, the fellas, you know, tell them, you know, "I’ll take care of you." She said that her baby’s father, you know, the two of them planned to get pregnant. Of course, she realizes now that this is not a good idea. But it happens.
TEXT ON SCREEN: America’s teen pregnancy rate is rising for the first time since 1991. Because of differing state sex education standards, Congress has failed to adopt a cohesive policy.
DOWLATSHAHI: If there were one program that Congress could help institute to help tackle this ongoing problem, decades-long problem, what would you think that program would look like?
UNCLES: It would be a combination of education and open access to medical care. And it would start before birth. I feel like it needs to start in the home, and then continue in school, and then continue in their health care. It’s got to be everywhere.
UNCLES: Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah! How do you get up?
DAJON: I want the sugar water there.
UNCLES: How do you get up?
DAJON: I usually go like this.
UNCLES: Okay. No. Bend the knee. Bend this knee. Turn over onto your side. Okay. Then come on up. There you go. You don’t want to stress your belly muscles.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.