Over the weekend, Lifetime aired its original made-for-TV fictionalization of the 2008 Gloucester Massachusetts teen pregnancy epidemic, The Pregnancy Pact, in which Thora Birch stars as a rogue vlogger intrigued by a reported pregnancy spike at her adolescent alma mater.
Accustomed to addressing conventional teenage angst and issues (sex, uncertain futures, keggers) on her blog, Sybil (Birch) is astounded to find that the Gloucester girls want their babies and deceitfully planned their pregnancies. When word gets out that many of the teen moms had promised to conceive within the same year and raise their children together, the town gains immediate media attention nationwide, and the closely-knit community with its strong Catholic values is turned against itself.
Made-for-TV movies, especially Lifetime ones, are the guiltiest of guilty pleasures, but The Pregnancy Pact is undeniably entertaining and surprisingly compelling. Its melodrama and camp are balanced by its capable cast, and the nagging notion that the story is real, relatively recent, and is represented almost entirely truthfully. In the wake of Juno, before Bristol Palin's headline-making approximation of abstinence, the U.S. was horrifically fascinated by the real-life teens who desired maternity above freedom and dreamed of lives spent entirely in their hometown. As laughable as lines glorifying Jamie Lynn Spears and equating young moms with the Madonna are, the story is genuine and terrifying, giving The Pregnancy Pact enough real world relevancy to make it the most successful cable movie—for its viewership bracket—within the last decade.