As a member of the ultra-right wing religious sect The Assemblies of God, Sarah Palin does not support comprehensive sex-education. Asked in 2006, “Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?” Sarah Palin answered Yes.
So, how well did Sarah Palin’s abstinence-only education approach work for her family? Not well, as it turns out. Sarah Palin’s 17 year-old daughter, Bristol Palin, has pulled a Jamie Lynn Spears. Bristol is five months pregnant. At age 44, Sarah Palin is going to be a grandmother.
Sarah Palin says it’s all okay, because Bristol Palin is going to get married – at age 17. I have a young daughter, and marriage and motherhood at the age of 17 are not among my hopes for her.
Maybe my daughter will get pregnant as a teenager. I understand that teenagers make mistakes, and families have difficulty. So, I don’t judge Bristol Palin and her parents personally. Hard things happen – I get that.
However, on the level of public policy, which is what matters in the race for the White House, Sarah Palin has some real problems when it comes to sex education. If Sarah Palin is wise, she will allow her personal experience with her daughter to bring her to a more mature position on public policy. The fact is that abstinence-education doesn’t prevent teenagers from getting pregnant, and it makes them more vulnerable to sexually-transmitted diseases.
Does Bristol Palin have a sexually-transmitted disease? We don’t know, but the chances are good. I know that, when it comes to my own daughter, I’d like for her to know all the facts about sex before she gets to the point where she is making the decision about whether she will have sex. I expect to be a part of that education, but our local school district needs to play a part in the process too, as I’m not so naive to believe that my daughter will always come to me or her mother to talk about her personal worries.
Our kids need all the facts about sex, because keeping them in the dark does not make them responsible. It just makes them ignorant.