Gosh, there’s been a lot of information on the news today regarding Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. It’s definitely a hot item. It’s so juicy, it might even make the jump from MSNBC to E! News.
But is all this exposure good or bad? What’s really going on here? Is the “liberal media” harping on an irrelevant issue? Is the conservative camp trying to sweep the story under the rug?
It reminds me of the film La Cage Aux Folles, or The Birdcage in the American version starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. In the film, a conservative politician’s daughter announces her engagement to the son of a gay man. Scandalous!
The daughter tries to hide this fact from her folks. But of course it comes out eventually, and somehow the media gets wind of it, as well. And you know what that means. The conservative father has to scramble around, trying to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Hilarity ensues.
I like to imagine that the PR guru huddle following the announcement of Bristol’s pregnancy looked like something out of The Birdcage. At least I hope it did, because then it would at least be funny as well as very, very sad.
Why is no one talking about a key implication of this pregnancy? Aside from what you might think about abortion or pre-marital sex, Bristol’s predicament opens up the issue of sexual education in schools.
Sarah Palin is known for her socially conservative views and values, including support for abstinence only education. I bet that Bristol has heard more than a little about abstinence from her family. Still, despite the influence of her conservative, religious parents, Bristol chose to engage in sexual intercourse. As a teenager. Outside of marriage.
Does this mean that Sarah Palin is a bad parent? That Bristol is a bad kid? Of course not. But this is a good example of why “abstinence only” sex education is not enough to protect American teens from unplanned pregnancies.
I know it’s an election year, and no one wants to bring up a touchy subject like sex ed in the public schools. But I’d love to see “abstinence only” proponents address the questions raised by Bristol’s choice.
Of course, Bristol is only one teenager. Perhaps she’s the exception to the rule. Perhaps most teenagers who receive “abstinence only” education choose not to have sex.
I don’t think that’s the case, though. Remember the government report that came out last year? I believe we should encourage abstinence, but remain realistic about teen sexuality.
This would be a great time for people to admit that many teenagers are going to have sex no matter what you tell them. It would be great if they didn’t, but that doesn’t mean that we can stop them.
The question is, how do we deal with this fact? What is the best way to protect teenagers? What role should the government play, and what role should be taken by the family? Is this a private matter, or an issue of public health?
In the meantime, the Republicans will work to save face and the Democrats will strive to keep the scandal fresh in our memories. But whatever your views, this is an opportunity to dig deeper into these issues.
The question of how to prepare our children to survive in our over-sexed culture should not be taken lightly.Powered by Sidelines