The birth of a child fathered by a 13-year-old boy has sparked an uproar in Britain.
Alfie Patten, who was only 12 when the baby was conceived with his girlfriend Chantelle Steadman, 15, was pictured on the front of Friday’s tabloid Sun newspaper with his daughter, Maisie Roxanne, after her birth Monday. He told the newspaper that he thought “it would be good to have a baby.” “I didn’t think about how we would afford it. I don’t really get pocket money. My dad sometimes gives me £10. When my mum found out I thought I was going to get in trouble. We wanted to have the baby but were worried about how people would react. I didn’t know what it would be like to be a dad. I will be good, though, and care for it.” Chantelle, meanwhile, said: “I’m tired after the birth. I was nervous after going into labor but otherwise I was quite excited.” She later told the Sun that they wanted to “prove to everyone” that they could give Maisie a “great future” and said both of them planned to stay in school. Conservative party leader David Cameron told PA parenthood should not be something the teenagers should even have been contemplating. Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith, who runs the Centre for Social Justice think tank, told the British Press Association the birth highlighted another case of “broken Britain” where “anything goes.” “It’s not being accusative, it’s about pointing out the complete collapse in some parts of society of any sense of what’s right and wrong.
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“There is no opprobrium any more about behaviour and quite often children witness behaviour that’s aggressive, violent, rude and sexual. It’s as if no one is saying this is wrong.” Prime Minister Gordon Brown said “all of us would want to avoid teenage pregnancies,” PA reported. Tony Kerridge, of the sexual health specialist Marie Stopes International, told PA children needed better education. “We have got the social aspect of young girls in the UK seeing having a baby as a route to getting their own place,” he said. London’s The Times newspaper reported Saturday that in the past decade more than 40 other boys aged under 14 had fathered children. The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe — 385 girls under the age of 14 became pregnant between 1998 and 2007.