Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Bristol Palin’s pregnancy

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It’s important to remember that Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was announced by the McCain campaign. In other words, the McCain campaign brought up this issue for discussion. And McCain has now welcomed (on TV) Britol’s “redneck” boyfriend (that’s his own description on his MySpace page, which was taken down, though not before he revealed that he doesn’t “want kids”).

Obviously, questions have been asked: for example, whether Bristol’s plight suggests that “abstinence-only” sex education doesn’t really work very well—whether a real sex-eduction program, with information on contraception, might have served her better. (Refusal to answer from the GOP representative.) Also, it puts in an interesting light Gov. Palin’s cutting the budget for a residential program for unmarried teen mothers, a program that helps them with the baby and also acquire knowledge and skills to support themselves).

Dana Goldstein has an interesting article on this issue. It begins:

You have to feel sorry for Bristol Palin. Because of her mother’s place on the Republican ticket, the biggest challenges of Bristol’s life thus far — becoming a parent and a wife before she has even graduated high school — will now play out on the national stage, opening her up to the judgments of hundreds of millions of gossipy Americans, not to mention election-watchers across the globe. Barack Obama was right to react with disgust Monday when asked if his campaign would make an issue out of Bristol’s pregnancy. Everyone recognizes that Bristol doesn’t deserve that.

At the Republican National Convention in St. Paul Monday, outside of a Lifetime Television event honoring young women leaders, a young Lifetime staffer breathlessly relayed the story to GOP Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. “So she’s keeping the baby. And she’s getting married to her boyfriend. And apparently the McCain people knew.” The congresswoman furrowed her brow.

“Wow,” McMorris Rodgers replied, taking it all in. “Oh my.” She paused. “Politically, I think it would be fine. Personally, I think it would be draining.”

In conservative circles, the pregnancy news is more than just fine — politically, it is playing like a dream among Republican delegates in St. Paul. The idea that the Christian right would have judged Sarah Palin a failure in imparting proper values to her sexually active daughter is silly — a typical liberal misreading of contemporary conservative ideology. Though the religious right promotes abstinence-only sex education, vows of chastity, and dances at which prepubescent girls pledge their virginity to dad, conservatives do live in 21st-century America, just like the rest of us. They know teen sex happens. They just also happen to believe, against all common sense, that it can be eradicated.

The truth is, conservatives are more familiar with teen parenthood than are secular liberals. On the whole, red states have higher teen pregnancy and birth rates than blue states. In Texas, the state with the highest teen birth rate, 63 out of every 1,000 young women aged 15 to 19 has had a baby. California has the lowest teen birth rate; only 39 of every 1,000 15- to 19-year-old girls there have carried a pregnancy to term. Alaska, where Bristol Palin grew up, has a typical teen birth rate of about 42.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 September 2008 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Daily life, Election, GOP

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