Bristol Palin, 19-year-old daughter of former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and perhaps the United States’ most famous teen mom, stars in a new PSA promoting teen abstinence:
Bristol, who has been quoted before saying it was unrealistic to ask young people to abstain from sex, has recanted and become a spokesperson for The Candie’s Foundation. It’s an organization that purports ‘to educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teenage pregnancy” but tends to push abstinence over contraception. (Although there is one fleeting condom reference here.)
Palin now says she plans to practice abstinence until marriage. In a recent Fox interview, though, she she gave this confusing answer to why teen pregnancy rates were rising in the United States:
I think it could be any number of things. There are different programs reaching out to teens, anything from changes in the economy to changes in availability of contraceptives or comprehensive sex education. It is really a number of things that are going on.
But we’re also seeing some mixed data. For example in 2008 it came out yesterday that that in 2008 the rates of teen births went down. So a couple of months ago the rate of teen pregnancy it was reported it had gone up in 2006, and now teen births have gone down in 2008.
And so it is changing all the time, and there are a lot of factors, obviously, that play into teen pregnancy.
I’m not sure what that means, but the current political climate in the United States is a little less subtle. For example, a Wisconsin District Attorney recently stated that he would prosecute public school teachers who dared to provide sex education to students, and Bristol’s politician mother strongly opposes sex education programs that do not include abstinence and is against using taxpayer dollars to distribute contraception in schools. Even President Obama has allotted $50 Million for abstinence-only programs — despite research showing that teenage births increased when these programs were begun under Bush. And medical warnings that contraceptive ignorance leads to more unsafe sex.
With contraception a hot issue in global maternal health, Bristol Palin made one good point: It sucks even more to get teen pregnant when you’re not rich and famous.