Bristol Palin Says to Teens: Don't Get Pregnant
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
On December 27, Bristol Palin, daughter of Alaska Governor and former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Today, Bristol, who is 18 years old and just shy of achieving her high school diploma, joined her mother in a statement on the birth of her first child, Governor Palin's first grandchild.
Governor Palin, obviously elated with the safe delivery of her grandchild and the health of her daughter, stated;
We are over the moon with the arrival of this healthy, beautiful baby.
And, she continued:
The road ahead for this young couple will not be easy, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Bristol and Levi are committed to accomplish what millions of other young parents have accomplished, to provide a loving and secure environment for their child. They are both hard workers, they're very strong, and have faith they've made the right decision in setting aside their own interests to make this child their highest priority.
The operative word here is "decision." Bristol and Levi, along with their families, made a decision that was right for them. And the fact that they have this choice is instructive on many levels.
Bristol Palin said she "obviously discourages" teen pregnancy and knows that plans she previously made for herself will now forever be changed.
Teenagers need to prevent pregnancy to begin with - this isn't ideal. But I'm fortunate to have a supportive family which is dealing with this together. Tripp is so perfectly precious; we love him with all our hearts. I can't imagine life without him now.
In many ways, Bristol Palin is incredibly fortunate. She grew up in the United States, where the choice still exists for all people, at least in theory, to practice safer sex, and where the choice still exists, at least in theory for all women, whether or not to bring a pregnancy to term. She is part of a family with the means to ensure she had access to good pre- and post-natal care, and safe delivery services. And she also has strong family support in raising her child while finishing school and going on to the next steps in her life. As she underscored in her own words, her original life plans may be forever changed, but she is exercising choices that are hers to make, according to her own situation, needs, and beliefs. I have no doubt that Bristol and Levi have the same dreams for their child as I do for mine or as any parent would.
Yet the situation is also full of irony. Bristol grew up in a family which espoused abstinence-only policies, not just as a familial choice, but also a state- and national strategy. During the Presidential campaign, MSNBC reported that in response to an Eagle Forum questionnaire during her gubernatorial race, Sarah Palin supported abstinence-only sex education.
Eagle Forum: Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?
Palin: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.
(The report, quoting campaign aides, shows that Presidential candidate McCain held the same views).
Sarah Palin, the VP candidate, was unequivocally anti-choice when it came to women's rights to determine whether and when to have children. As Gloria Steinem wrote in September in the Los Angeles Times:
[Palin] opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions. She doesn't just echo McCain's pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade, she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest, she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it also protects the right to have a child.