So far, Jamie Lynn Spears appears to have taken the troubles faced by her sister, Britney, to heart as she celebrates the birth of her first child. The 17-year-old singer/actress, who delivered a baby girl on Thursday, recently bought a house near her hometown of Kentwood, Louisiana, and settled down with fiance Casey Aldridge, 19. She also tried to stay well away from the glare of the Hollywood paparazzi as she prepared to be a mom.
In addition to getting her GED earlier this year, the "Zoey 101" star has said she plans to take a hiatus from work in order to concentrate on being a mother. But that hasn't stopped some social critics from lamenting the seemingly glamorous take on teen pregnancy some high school students might be getting from the tabloid coverage of Spears' baby, as well as the nonjudgmental messages of recent accidental-pregnancy movies "Juno" and "Knocked Up."
On Thursday — the same day that Time magazine's Web site posted a story on a teen pregnancy "pact" in Massachusetts among 17 high school girls — the CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a statement in response to the Spears birth.
"Every child deserves a warm welcome, and we hope that Jamie Lynn Spears' new daughter, Maddie Briann, will be surrounded by much love, support and comfort," Sarah Brown wrote. "But the media frenzy that is sure to now erupt, as it did when this pregnancy was announced
last December, provides every parent, teacher, media outlet and more a chance to state the truth: Babies need and deserve adult parents who are committed to each other and to decades of being the best parents possible.
"Hundreds of thousands of teens and unmarried young adults get pregnant and become parents every single year, and few of them have Hollywood beginnings or endings," the statement continued. "Getting pregnant and bearing children is one of the most important steps that any person ever takes, and it deserves careful planning, thought and consideration."
The group's response comes amid reports that the teen birth rate was up by 3 percent in 2006, the first increase in nearly 15 years. According to the campaign, at present, three in 10 girls in the United States become pregnant by age 20, with more than 729,000 teen pregnancies annually.
How do you think Jamie Lynn has handled her pregnancy? Let us know!