The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

Four 15-year-olds dared each other to get pregnant by same man

Malta Independent Wednesday, 7 May 2014, 09:52 Last update: about 7 years ago

Four fifteen-year-old girls got pregnant by the same man because of a bet, Mgr Anton Gouder revealed on Monday.

Speaking on RTK, Mgr Gouder recounted the shocking case. “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.”

When contacted yesterday by The Malta Independent, Mgr Gouder said that this was a one-off case, and no other similar experiences came to mind. He says, however, that teenage pregnancies are on the rise. And not all of them are unwanted. “There are quite a few 16- and 17-year-olds who actually have planned pregnancies. They become pregnant because they want to have a child - at such a young age.”

Speaking on Monday evening during the radio show, Mgr Gouder said that these girls are not the problem. “The question is: where are the values that we are supposed to be handing down to our children?”

He also implied that society is rather 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. 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.”

Many parents are also not employing the right attitude when it comes to their children’s upbringing. “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 nowadays born out of wedlock.

 

“Not all single parents are benefits fraudsters’

The radio talk show mainly tackled the issue of single parents and unemployment. Mgr Gouder quoted a recent survey which showed that up to 54% of single parents do not work. He noted, however, that a number of cases are genuine, and the system could also be contributing to this factor.

“One reason why we have many single mothers could be the fact that social benefits are higher when compared to other countries.”

While noting that single parents can also be fathers, Mgr Gouder noted that there is a narrow gap between the minimum wage and social benefits.

“Single parents might be discouraged to work for a minimum wage because the expenses related to childcare and transport might actually leave them with less money in their pockets than if they chose to receive benefits and stay at home to take care of their children. We have to study the system to find out how we can really incentivise people to work because, after all, work gives us dignity.”

The Pro-Vicar General also rebutted claims that the church is remaining silent on this issue of single parenting.

“Church teaching says that you should not be a single parent out of justice and charity towards your children. Marriage provides the best environment for the upbringing of children.” 

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