I have to say, 19-year-old Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin (that famous Alaskan governor who ran for vice president on the Republican ticket) is gorgeous. There’s just something about her eyes and that sweet smile–it just makes me want to stop what I’m doing and get to know her some more. Maybe, I’m just a sucker for brunettes.
Bristol became pregnant during high school and is currently in a custody battle with her ex lover, Levi Johnston, over their 13-month-old son, Trip. Concurrently, she’s become an advocate for teaching teenagers about practicing abstinence rather than having safe sex to avoid getting pregnant. In In Touch Magazine, she say’s “I’m not going to have sex until I’m married…I can guarantee it.” And since then, a huge media firestorm grew when she and her mother appeared on “Oprah” yesterday.
Oprah Winfrey was on her case when she asked Bristol, “Why set yourself up that way? It may be 10 years from now before you choose to get married. Why set yourself up in making that statement so that everybody you go out with, you date — the media is going to be looking at that person, trying to get that person to sell you out, to say, ‘Did you have sex or not.’..It’s nobody’s business when you chose to have sex.”
Palin answered, “I think it’s a goal to have and I think other women should have that goal.”
“Okay, but it’s a goal,” Winfrey said, “But when you make a statement that you are absolutely positively not going to have sex, you don’t think you’re setting yourself up?”
Palin answered, “No, I don’t.”
“Okay, good luck to you,” Winfrey said.
Did you see that sly move that Winfrey was doing? She gave Palin the opportunity to retract her statement and edit it. However, Palin would not budge. Oprah seems to have little faith in Palin. Maybe it’s for good reason. ABC News reported:
- 3 out of 10 high school girls get pregnant.
- Of those that get pregnant, only half actually finish high school.
- 8 out of 10 of the pregnant girls do not get married to the father of their children.
In the very same interview with ABC News, Bristol Palin states, “[Abstinence] is a hard choice. It’s the safe choice. And it’s the best choice.” I have to agree–it’s actually quite logical. How can you be 100% sure that you’ll avoid getting pregnant or be at risk for sexually-transmitted diseases? You abstain from sex, duh! And you stop promiscuous behavior. It’s plain and simple. But for some teenagers, it’s not that simple–it’s a struggle.
Research has shown that abstinence-only programs have not produced favorable results. And those that take virginity pacts are just as likely to have sex than those who don’t. This is what Oprah Winfrey feared–we would set ourselves up for failure. However, perhaps the real failure of abstinence-only programs is that they don’t educate teenagers about safe sex or contraception. As a result, those teenagers who are in abstinence-only programs and absolutely struggle with sex are more likely to not practice safe sex or contraception. We need a comprehensive program that first teaches abstinence as the 100% sure way of avoiding pregnancy and STDs, but also teach about safe sex and contraception. I think the latter half is what Palin’s campaign against teen pregnancy is missing.
On a side note, teen pregnancy has always been a hot topic on debates about sex education, but it was a year and half ago that the issue became even more intense. In June 2008, the nation was shocked to learn that at Gloucester High, 17 girls were expecting babies. It was then discovered that the girls made a pact to get pregnant by graduation.
What do you think about Palin’s campaign? Is she setting herself up for failure? What do you think about sex education in America? What would you say to your teenager?