By RAPHAEL G. SATTER
LONDON (Feb. 13) - He's 13. He scarcely looks 10. And according to a British tabloid, he's a father.
Baby-faced and only
4 feet tall, the boy, Alfie, was just 12 when he impregnated Chantelle,
now 15, The Sun reported Friday. Shown in a video posted Friday on the
tabloid's Web site, the diminutive Alfie takes the newborn girl in his
Asked what he would do to support the child financially, Alfie asks in a small, high-pitched voice, "What's financially?"
The girl was taking
birth control pills but missed one, the newspaper reported. Friends and
relatives left the family home near Eastbourne, about 70 miles
southeast of London, Friday without speaking to reporters gathered
outside. The teenagers could not immediately be contacted.
The Sun did not say
whether any tests were conducted to prove the boy's paternity. The
paper did not offer any immediate comment when asked whether it had
paid the family for the story.
Police and child
services in Eastbourne, in southeast England, said in a statement that
they were "aware of a 14-year-old girl that had become pregnant as the
result of a relationship with a 12-year-old boy," adding that they were
offering support to both young people.
Alfie's front page
picture has sparked renewed debate about teen pregnancy in Britain. The
country has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, and
government figures show that about 39,000 girls under age 18 became
pregnant in 2006. More than 7,000 of those girls were younger than 16.
"I don't know the
individual details of the case, but of course I think all of us would
want to avoid teenage pregnancies," Prime Minister Gordon Brown said
Britain had 27
births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 between 2000 and 2005, according to a
report published by Population Action International. Comparable figures
are 10 per 1,000 for Spain, 8 in 1,000 for France, and 5 in 1,000 for
pregnancy rate, however, is still far below that of the United States,
which registers 44 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 and are more line
with English-speaking countries such as Australia and New Zealand,
which respectively have 17 and 27 births per 1,000 women between 15 and
19, according to the report.
But the country's reputation as Europe's teen pregnancy capital has been an embarrassment to politicians.
In 1999 then-Prime Minister Tony Blair described Britain's record on pregnancies as shameful and vowed to turn it around.
"Put simply, you
are still a child when you are 14 and, in a civilized society, children
should not be having children," he said at the time. The government has
since poured millions of pounds (dollars) into advertising and
Brook, a U.K. group
that provides sexual health advice to people under 25, said teen
pregnancies had fallen by about 12 percent since 1998, but more had to
"It can be easy to
concentrate on young women but young men need as much support and
information," Brook's chief executive, Simon Blake, said.
In a move last year
to tackle the high teen pregnancy rate, British education officials
announced they would start introducing sex education earlier in English
schools. Beginning next year, children as in grades as low as
kindergarten will be given basic sex education.
Tony Kerridge, of
the sexual health group Marie Stopes International, praised the move,
but local lawmaker Nigel Waterson said the pregnancy raised "huge
questions" about whether British children were being educated about sex
ó at the expense of learning about healthy relationships.
Chantelle and Alfie have reportedly pledged to raise the child as best they can.
"We know we made a mistake but I wouldn't change it now," Chantelle was quoted by The Sun as saying.
Dennis ó who reportedly has nine children ó said his son told him it
was the first time he had sex. He was reportedly allowed to sleep over
at the girl's house.
"It hasn't really dawned on him," Patten, 45, was quoted as saying in the paper.
"I will talk to him
again and it will be the birds and bees talk," he said. "Some may say
it's too late but he needs to understand so there is not another baby."
youngest-known father was said to be a 12-year-old boy in a suburb
north of London who impregnated a young neighbor in 1998.It might be easier to read the topic from the actual source, there's an image as well:
My question is what the heck were the parents doing when these kids were out there creating this child? Why was this 14 year old girl on birth control pills in the first place? And how is this "progress" in our society if 12 year olds are becoming fathers?
There's a lot of different theories with teenage pregnancies. One such mentioned in this article is of introducing sex education in school --- grades as low as kindergarten. Where will that take us? Why is society so hell-bent on stealing these kids' innocence? Did advocating drug awareness among fourth-graders lead to a decreased involvement of kids in drugs?
Another theory I've heard is that since teenagers can't be stopped from reproducing, they should have open access to any and all methods of preventing pregnancies.
I highly disagree with that. I say that we should take these very kids, find their parents, and knock some sense into their heads. If they were able to practice some good parenting skills, such nonsense would never occur. Instead of investing in sex education for children, we should invest in parenting skills for some of these airheads, mistakenly called parents, that don't know where their child is at any given moment.
Arghh, I could go and on right now. But I won't --- you can breathe now.
Do share your thoughts.