Tuesday, September 02, 2008
It Happens To Their Kids, Too
Governor Sarah Palin, of Alaska (population 670,053), is John McCain’s vice-presidential candidate. Her 17 year-old daughter, Bristol, is unmarried and pregnant. Currently the Republican convention is taking place in Minnesota, and the Republicans are doing everything in their power to spin this teen pregnancy into a silk purse.
I do not think Sarah Palin’s daughter is fair game, but I do think there is no time like the present to talk about teen pregnancy.
Without a doubt, I feel bad for Bristol Palin. Suddenly she is Juno, or Britney Spear's sister. I'd like to remind folks that teenagers are frequently and habitually careless with sexual matters as a rule, and this does not mean Bristol’s parents are to blame. However it does prove that teen pregnancy is not an inner city or a backwoods condition - it is a human condition that knows no socio-economic boundaries.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four girls have STD's. Further, record numbers of teenage girls are turning up pregnant. Getting an STD, or pregnant, isn't something like a lightening strike or a one in a million shot. Those statistics do not reflect a fluke of misfortune. The numbers are saying we failed to provide teenagers with the right information about sexual matters, and that they are unwilling (or unable) to ask us how to behave responsibly.
I would like to have five minutes with Sarah Palin and ask, "What kind of resources are available to your underage daughter, now that she's pregnant?" Does her daughter have health insurance? Many teens do not. "Governor, will your daughter be able to finish school and attend a college of her choice after she gives birth?" Far too many girls, who do not have politicians for mothers, will have a harder time (or find it virtually impossible) to realize their goals in life because of an unplanned pregnancy. The Republican Party and the religious right are not addressing any of these issues, even when their own kids are pregnant.
Right now Sarah Palin’s party is waving their flag for the abstinence/anti-choice movement. And they should be called on their bullshit now rather than later.
How many more young people will Republicans and the religious right choose to fail?