Four 15-year-old Maltese girls dared each other to get pregnant by the same man, according to comments made on a radio program.
Mgr Anton Gouder spoke to RTK on Monday about the shocking case, saying: “A few months back I had a shocking case. A 15-year-old girl went to a doctor and told her she was pregnant, which she was. She then told the GP that three more of her class mates would visit her the following week because they had made a bet to get pregnant by the same man.”
According to Mgr Gouder, this was the only known case, and no other similar experiences have been reported. But pregnancy is prevalent among teenagers in Malta, and some of them are planned, he says.
“They become pregnant because they want to have a child - at such a young age,” Mgr Gouder told The Malta Independent.
On the RTK radio program, he questioned the values being passed on to teens and suggested that society is unfair in the way it perceives different cases.
“We complain when teenage girls become pregnant and we have to pay for their benefits through our taxes,” Mgr Gouder said. “But on other matters we often justify actions by saying that people have the right to do what they want. No, we do not have the right to do what we want. We have a right to do what is right. We cannot speak about rights without also speaking about consequences.”
He says that many parents lack the right kind of attitude to raising their children. “Many parents teach their children how to avoid getting pregnant, rather than how to do the right thing. We are teaching them to be cunning rather than to be righteous. Parents should be better educated.”
The Curia's Pro-Vicar General also noted that a quarter of children are born outside of marriage.
In contrast, the teenage pregnancy rate, birth rate and abortion rate in the United States have dropped significantly since the 1990s, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing a study by the Guttmacher Institute.
Researchers say the recent decline in the three rates show that pregnancies among teens may be down due in part to fewer teens getting pregnant in the first place.