Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes (who have babies)

Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, recently gave her first interview since giving birth in December. Palin said that ONLY telling young people to be abstinent is "not realistic at all."

Well, la dee dah. At least one of the Palins has a lick of sense on this issue. Too bad it's the one who is already a teenage mother.

I felt sorry for Bristol when it was announced she was pregnant. I knew the media would drag her through the mud throughout the election. She would become a poster child for both pro-lifers and those who oppose abstinence only sex-ed. As if the entire experience wasn't hard enough, Bristol was forced into the spotlight by both political parties, every media outlet in the country and even her own mother.

I thought Bristol handled the entire debacle with grace and dignity, despite the scrutiny she faced and the offhand, ignorant comments of the baby's father. I never once criticized her for her poor choices, but I did criticize her mother who has been a supporter of abstinence only education. Surely--surely--this will change Sarah Palin's views on the need for REAL sex education in schools. Her own daughter says that abstinence ONLY is unrealistic. This is a teenager who has not only been taught abstinence in schools but has undoubtedly heard the same speech at home and at her church. She didn't listen. She's not some poor white trash girl who doesn't know better. Her parents profess to be Christians. She comes from a "traditional" family. Her mother is the governor. She didn't listen.

I've been doing this same song and dance for years, but people still insist that it is wrong, even sinful, to teach anything but abstinence. It's just not working. Show me a kid who is waiting until marriage and I'll show you THREE of my students who are pregnant right now and dozens more who have had abortions or miscarriages.

Yes, teach them to wait. Beg them to wait. Hell, bribe them to wait. But just accept that many of them won't. We have to do everything we can to protect them, to protect their futures, protect their health. There has to be education for those who don't want to wait. When will our society recognize that their views are not only antiquated but simply flawed? People may reminisce about the good old days, but there has NEVER been a time when there weren't young people having sex outside of marriage. I'm not saying you have to accept it, but you have to accept that it's happening.

Bristol, I hope someone listens to you. If there's anyone qualified to speak out on this issue, it's you.

Now go get yourself a nap.

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