Jamie Lynn Spears by Gregg DeGuire/ WireImage.com Jamie Lynn Spears by Gregg DeGuire/ WireImage.com

Have you read this story? Time magazine is reporting that a group of high-school girls in Gloucester, Mass., who are all under the age of 16, made a pact to intentionally get pregnant and raise their children together. I'll let you excavate all the sad details of that situation on your own, but it got me thinking: What has happened that teenagers want to have children?

The Today show reported on Friday that teenage pregnancy rates have gone up for the first time in 15 years. Referencing the Time story, they offered a group of experts who offered possible explanations for the intention to get pregnant at such a young age. One proffered that having a baby is akin to having a pet that offers you unconditional love. Another argued that having a baby is the latest fashion accessory, made popular by the media coverage of young, unwed celebrities whose "baby bumps" are all the rage these days.

At the box office, Knocked Up wrestled - albeit comically - with the difficulties of becoming an unwed mother. Juno earned an Oscar for telling a tender story of teen pregnancy sketched in really broad strokes.

Oh, and you know what else happened on Friday? Nickelodeon star Jamie Lynn Spears, 17, gave birth to a daughter, Maddie Briann. Now I'm no reactionary moralist who is going to tell you that Spears' pregnancy is good, bad, or otherwise, but it begs the question: Is pop culture making it seem cool to be a young mom? - Mickey O'Connor