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Massachusetts High School Faces Pregnancy Boom

A Massachusetts high school is facing a pregnancy boom with 17 girls entering summer vacation expecting babies in what some have called a pregnancy pact.

Officials at Gloucester High School in Gloucester, Mass., are investigating whether half of the teens made a pact to get pregnant during the school year, Time.com reported.

Officials said that beginning last fall a large group of girls started asking the school clinic for pregnancy tests, the site said.

"Some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," principal Joseph Sullivan told Time.com.

The pregnancy rate at the 1,200-student school is four times higher than the previous year, and officials were shocked to learn that men in their 20s had fathered some of the babies, Time.com said.

"We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," Sullivan told Time.com.

The Gloucester baby boom is forcing this city of 30,000 to grapple with the question of providing easier access to birth control, something this largely Catholic enclave is slow to embrace, the site said.

Nurse practitioner Kim Daly administered 150 pregnancy tests to students by May, prompting her and the clinic's medical director, Dr. Brian Orr, to lobby for the prescription of contraceptives regardless of parental consent.

That move drew the ire of Mayor Carolyn Kirk, whose public outcry against the pair led to their resignations last month.

"It is very clear that the board [at Northeast Health System of Beverly, which manages the clinic] is not in favor and will not support contraception in the school," Orr told the Boston Globe. "There is an epidemic of teen pregnancy at the school."

Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and FOX News contributor, called the school's epidemic "shocking."

"But the other thing we should realize is that we are hot on the heels of [17-year-old] Jamie Lynn Spears deciding to start a family and of mass media embracing the notion and waiting with bated breath for her baby," he said.

Jamie Lynn gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday.

According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s teen birth rate rose in 2006 for the first time in 14 years.

Ablow said the example in Massachusetts should be heeded as a warning.

"In a world that is so technologically based, there will be predictable push-back from young people," he said. "They want to remind themselves that they are alive and human. One of the ways people do this is that they reproduce."

Click here to read the full report at Time.com.

Click here to read more at the Boston Globe.

Click here for more from MyFOXBoston.com.

FOXNews.com's Karlie Pouliot contributed to this report.