A Wisconsin teen gave birth to a child on March 23 and attempted to pass off the child as an abandoned baby. Braeley Pettigrew was reportedly unaware she was pregnant before having the child, and told her mother she found the baby on their lawn.
Pettigrew’s mother says she called the police, who drove the teen and her baby to the hospital, reports New York Daily News. The teen later confirmed she was the mother of the newborn.
“I feel shocked, like I never thought I would be a mother at 17,” said Pettigrew.
She decided to keep her newborn rather than give him up to be adopted, and named him Kayden.
Pettigrew is reportedly a star student and high school athlete. While she plans to attend college, her college tours were postponed.
Many teens in the U.S. lack substantial access to sex education, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. The U.S. reportedly has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 25 percent of American women are pregnant before reaching age 20.
While Pettigrew is intent on pursuing higher education, teen pregnancy can have devastating effects on young women.
American teens with children are significantly less likely to graduate high school than than other students. Teen moms are also more likely to receive state welfare, be below the poverty line and have poor health.
The costs of teen pregnancy are many, and high. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says public costs related to teen pregnancy top $9.4 billion annually.