Sunday, February 15, 2009
Bristol Palin and Birth Control
My hat is off to Bristol Palin. She's more than just a pretty face and definitely not a chip off the old block when it comes to her views on birth control and premarital sex. In an interview yesterday on Fox News, Bristol, an unmarried eighteen year old mother, who gave birth to son, Tripp, on December 27th, announced that she thought "abstinence only sex education was unrealistic" Yay Bristol. Way to go.
Bristol is right, of course. In modern day America expecting teenagers to navigate a sexually explicit culture, fight raging hormones, and wait till marriage for sex is indeed unrealistic. Some will choose to do so, but many will not. With Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears as role models today's twelve year olds are bombarded with sexual images but short on specific information. To think that telling them how their bodies work and how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease will make them promiscuous is puritanical craziness. It doesn't make sense.
The expression " shotgun wedding" disappeared from the American vocabulary at least fifty years ago, along with " old maid" and " illegitimate child." The iron-clad sexual straight jacket of the 1950's is gone, thank God. It did more harm than good. I should know. I grew up with it. In any case, you can't unring a bell. In this day and age it is madness not to educate kids about the realities of HIV/AIDS and STD's and to explain the specifics of birth control. Morality is a personal and family matter. Physiology and real life based sex education is a matter of public health.
I give Bristol Palin credit for getting through her mother's recent political campaign with her head held high even as her belly bulged. It took a lot of guts. It took even more guts to share her experience and air her views in a TV interview, in spite of what may well be some substantial family consequences. She loves the baby, is happy now that he is here, but if she had it to do over, she would wait ten years before becoming a mother, she says.
Bristol learned the hard way that while ideals may be black and white, real life usually arrives in shades of grey. She's got the message and she's passing it on. I, for one, respect her honesty.