Sarah Palin’s ideas about sex education policy — and the red flag it raises

September 1st, 2008 · 25 Comments

Well, today Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin confirmed that her 17 year old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant. The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of the industrialized world, despite the legalization and availability of various forms of contraception. Actually, teen birth rates are on the rise for the first time in 15 years, as 3 in 10 girls in the US become pregnant by age 20. Moreover, Latina teenagers have a pregnancy rate that is twice the national average.

It is reported that Sarah Palin supports abstinence only sex education. A recent national study showed that abstinence only sex education, which has been promoted by the Bush administration, is not working, while costing us $176 million per year. If Sarah Palin cannot even get her own daughter to comply with the lessons of abstinence only, then how does she expect the rest of the teens in America to do so?

Obviously, I don’t know Sarah Palin, but I assume like most parents that she wants the best for her children. Bristol’s decision to progress with her pregnancy is her business, but how can her mother in good faith continue to promote a policy that clearly is failing America’s children? European countries have better adolescent sexuality outcomes with lower teen pregnancy rates and fewer incidences of disease as their youth are exposed to more comprehensive sex education. Why can’t we learn from our European allies and take a more realistic approach to sex education?

Unfortunately, for many Latina pregnant teens, they don’t have the benefit of having mothers who earn higher than average salaries and who have wonderful government health benefits that would afford them an easier pregnancy or experience as a young mother. I hope that Latino parents pay attention to all candidates’ positions on teaching sex education and make the most informed choices in educating their children. We need to reverse this troubling trend in our community and in the country at large, especially if we want our youth to be able to compete successfully in the global economy.

Tags: Education · Presidential Elections · Sarah Palin · teen pregnancy

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 MgF // Sep 1, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Isn’t this a big “no-no” to all of the conservatives?

  • 2 reenee // Sep 1, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    A lot of conservatives dislike anything that veers from the unsuccessful “Abstinence Only” programs. While this is clearly a high profile example of the abject failure of the program, these Family Values proponents will see nothing wrong with this development. Why? Look at who her parents are.
    To a lot of them, who you are has always been more important than what you have done. Therefore, while they are cheering this 17 year old girl because of who she is, they will continue to demonize all other girls of color who find themselves pregnant.

  • 3 chris // Sep 2, 2008 at 5:13 am

    not all conservatives think that sex-ed is off limits. i agree that abstinence only sex-ed is naive and ineffective. i am pro life, pro abstinence, and pro sex-ed.

  • 4 Flori // Sep 2, 2008 at 6:24 am

    This should be the turning point for Palin’s abstinence-only policy, but it won’t be because her party is not informed by facts but by myths that have long ago been disproved.

    There is a great tongue in cheek piece in about whose fault it is.

  • 5 priscilla // Sep 2, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Maybe Bristol will live in a shoe with so many children she doesn’t know what to do.

  • 6 BettyM // Sep 2, 2008 at 10:53 am

    If the “Abstinence Only” program is not working, you would think that it would be changed to incorporate comprehensive sex education for young adults. The Bush administration did not think that the study done was “rigorous enough” and therefore they will continue to throw money down the drain. Too bad – more children will have children.

  • 7 Barrio Abogado // Sep 2, 2008 at 11:21 am

    So much for the conservative agenda concerning family values and parenting skills. How the GOP couldn’t see this train wreck coming is beyond me!

  • 8 EYES OF TEXAS // Sep 2, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    McCain and his campaign staff knew about this prior to the announcement as McCains VP pick. All of the things that are trying to be twisted around about the Palin family only connects them closer to be like all other American famlies having to face the things that life throws at them. The Palins are not Washington insiders or elitists, they were not born into money and have worked ordinary jobs like any other citizen. They are just plain folks with the same heartaches that are suffered by most Americans.

    Here is a bit of info. about Sarah Palins experience as Govenor of Alaska.

    Before you dismiss that Commander of the Alaska National Guard stuff. This came from a reader who plays the game and it jibes with my knowledge.

    Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It’s on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

    As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden’s.

    She’s also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security’s counterterrorism plans.

    Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country’s defense. Given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, she may have security clearances we don’t even know about.

    According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets.

    She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is.

  • 9 YolandaR // Sep 2, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Eyes of Texas I wouldn’t entrust Sarah Palin with my daughters less known with national security decisions. But a more important issue faces us as some celebrate her nomination. IF
    she is elected we validate her family as an acceptable desirable U.S. role model. They represent our country throughout the world. Where do I begin–how about with her husband who doesn’t have a college degree. Betcha he can give a great speech about the value of education. Or what about a 17 yrs old child who will have a child from statutory rape and the parents make her marry the guy who did it? Hmmm should we stop distributing birth control kits in third world countries? This is the U.S. family we want to send around the world to meet Putin or Shimon Peres? Well if they are the VP family it only proves that education is a brown skinned requirement only, and it still is inferior to an Anglo fisherman award winning snow racer. That is a secret Sarah won’t be able to keep!

  • 10 xxxicana // Sep 2, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    This is the RNC’s attempt to grab Hilary fans? Hard to imagine what McCain is thinking. I don’t really care that her family doesn’t mirror “traditional values” (it is too snarky to take pleasure out of a teen age pregnancy). I don’t even care that Mr. Palin doesn’t have a college degree. A degree does not guarantee wisdom, insight, or intelligence. I won’t change my vote to support Palin because she is not a feminist (no matter how the RNC paints her), she is dangerously inexperienced, is anti-choice, and admits that she doesn’t have a clue about the war in Iraq. Just cuz she wears a skirt doesn’t make her a feminist nor qualified.

  • 11 Tina // Sep 2, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    I am very concerned that the Palin family is portrayed to look like the “All American Family” that has their fair share of problems like the rest of us. I am concerned that the message being sent to the American public is; “It’s okay for teens to have sex and not use birth control”. Author of “Street wise to Sex -Wise” Steve Brown writes that all teens are high risk for unwanted pregnancy, STD’s, sexual assault/ abuse, sexual dysfunction and self-destructive, abusive or exploitative relationships. The message the RNC is sending is that it is okay for teens to experience sex, and to marry early based on the fact that she is pregnant and plans to marry. So this young hockey player, Levi is going to provide for their beautiful new little family…. Think about it…. I work with teens and I feel that sex education should be comprehensive. Ms. Palin learned her lesson the hard way, “abstinence only” lessons do not work . It is a risk not to have comprehensive sex ed. in all schools.

  • 12 webmaster // Sep 2, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    YolandaR has a good point here. If the Dems had a VP pick whose husband or wife wasn’t educated, whose daughter was knocked up, and who was embroiled in an ethics probe, we would never hear the end of it.

    Mr. Palin cannot hold a candle to Dr. Jill Biden, Yes Joe Biden’s wife has a Ph.D. in education. Think about how JFK wanted to surround himself with the nation’s best and brightest during the early 60s to send us to the moon, build up our infrastructure, etc. We need to return to that kind of thinking where we have high goals and expectations for our leaders.

    Formal education and credentials do matter in a global economy. I don’t think that the Palin family is a good role model for us, although having a college degree doesn’t necessarily mean that one can hold an intelligent conversation. Speaking of college, how does Sarah Palin expect Bristol and Levi to provide for that baby? Are these kids even going to college or are they going to live off the public dole?

    Tina also makes a great point. How is Levi, the high school hockey player and Palin baby daddy, going to pay for this child? Just because this young couple plans to marry does not guarantee economic security.

  • 13 EYES OF TEXAS // Sep 3, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Yo, if you would like to judge a person by their family members or their associates, lets start with the Obama. Barak was born into a Muslim culture by his then 17 yr. old unwed mother and a Muslim father. By Islamic law, anyone born to a Muslim father is a Muslim. His associates thru the years have been questionable, to say the least. Obama is not the individual he fronts to be and his idea of a socialist America will be national suicide.

    Since this Palin issue has become such a big deal with all you liberal thinking folks you can take heed of how Barak said he would have handled the situation if one of his daughters got pregnant at 17 yrs. old. His answer was he would not let his daughter be burdened with a baby at such an early age. Another words, infanticide.

  • 14 PC // Sep 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Eyes of Texas – Oh Please! Your Muslim and Obama bashing is exactly the type of garbage that republicans have been spitting for years.. Prey on the fears of white folk so that they are too scared to vote for the brown guy.. You ever hear of Willie Horton?

  • 15 MgF // Sep 3, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Um, Eyes of Texas-

    Governors decide when and how to deploy the guard to help in natural disasters — as they are now in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. They also can use the guard to control civil unrest. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, governors deployed the guard to airports and subways, at the request of Washington.

    Governors play no role in deciding whether their guard forces go to war.


  • 16 Greg // Sep 3, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    The Missile Interceptor System has never actually worked. She has no power to control it. It is a Military installation. So that point is totally useless in the discussion of her national security experience.

  • 17 Bearguez // Sep 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Isn’t this a great country? When you can have a small-minded bigot like the Eyes of Texas spouting his lies, all in an effort to promote more gloom and doom on internet sites. He probably has Rush Limbaugh blasting from his radio all day long, and FOX News blaring from his television 24 hours a day. He’s obviously never been out of country. He’s probably never been out of Texas, yet he’s an expert on U.S. military defense installations, the mindset of the GOP, and a historian specializing on Barack Obama. I’m willing to bet he’s never been to college, not even a community college. This is what hatred and fear breeds. And I am willing to bet he’s also very religious. How Christ-like are those opinions of yours mister Eyes of Texas?

  • 18 monica // Sep 4, 2008 at 12:16 am

    thanks for a pleasant and insightful take on things. I am very wary of Ms. Palin and her ‘small town’ take on things. it’s bad enough the primary American cable news station available in Europe is FOXNews. This is how we want to be represented to the world? A slightly educated, primarily Anglo nation of gun-totin’ moose-killers?

    This is a country where everyone has a place, and everyone contributes to the culture. America wouldn’t be America without the convergence of Latin, African, Asian, Anglo culture…etc. I don’t trust that a woman who’s spent her entire life in Alaska will understand or appreciate the importance of that therefore, our very importance as Americans is undermined by her ignorance.

  • 19 EYES OF TEXAS // Sep 4, 2008 at 7:59 am

    U.S. Navy 1968-1972 and have seen the world. No college since during the forementioned years I was a little busy serving my country. Afterwards got married to a beautiful Hispanic-American woman with two daughters, all full blood Mexican. Wifes mom got her big break in the 1986 amnesty since she was illegal. In 1982 we adopted an infant, 4 month old boy of a crack whore and my wife and I had a son then a daughter, so they are mixed. If you lost count thats five young ones to raise and not a lot of time for further education because I was working long hours to support my family.

    You still don’t know me and I don’t know you, but my arguements are not to be taken lightly because they are questions that a large portion of America believe about your media created fraud, Barak H. Obama. No one in their right mind can ever deny that Barak has not been influenced in some way by his Muslim early years. He has stated himself, I think on Oprah, that he would stand with the Muslims if he had to chose sides.

    Hope everyone caught Governor Palins speech last night. She laid out a game plan for what and how she would do things to benefit Americans when, not if, she and McCain are elected. No blah-blah-blah, hope and change, unicorns and rainbows, and I’ll fix things but don’t have a clue how that is spouted from Obamas socialist mouth.

    Not a religious bone in my body, don’t own a gun, patriotic to the extreme, carry no hate for anyone, nor do I fear anyone or anything. With that said, all I can advise is for all you Obama freaks out there, step out of the herd of sheeple for a second and take a good hard look at your shepard, Barak H. Obama, and understand he is not qualified to be the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth and would be willing to hand this country over to any invading forces rather than fight and possibily die to save it. Instead he would seek protection from his Muslim brothers as he said he would do. No Obama, No way, No how. Wrong for America and Americans will prove that in November.

  • 20 jammer // Sep 4, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Oye, ojos de Tejas in case you didn’t hear this on Oprah one of Palins closest associates is the leader of the Alaska Independence Party. He has used harsher language to condemn the United State and has vowed never to be buried under the American Flag. They want to not be part of the USA! Soooo by your twisted logic this makes Palin a what? So you were in the Navy. Bet you saw alot of the world from your boat. I saw many a sailor on shore leave experiencing culture from a bar stool. I think I recognized you in your drunken stupor. Before you go off. I was Army Airborne 82nd, lived in a foriegn country, came back went to college and grad school raised two wonderful children(one finishing a Ph.D the other finishing a BA)And I am voting for Obama because a McCain/Palin ticket terrifies me. In case you don’t get it our military might doesn’t scare people anymore. Peasents in Vietnam beat us and illiterates in Iraq and Afghanistan are killing us. Get it?????

  • 21 Implicx // Sep 4, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    To “Eyes of Texas”: you are so absolutely out of line and ignorant about this country and the planet that fools like Sarah Palin feed on you. You have no constructive arguement about anything. You bring up the non trivial issue about Obama’s Muslim lineage, which has absolutely nothing to do with this election.

    The issue here is Palin’s hardcore religious views on Marriage, Sex, Abortion, Global warming, Oil resources and Terrorism among many other. She is anti abortion. Do you have understand how stupid that is. Every pregnancy has unique circumstances and events that led up to that unwanted pregnancy. Rape, incest, known terminal illness in the going to be born baby and or mental or physical deformity. Abortion is a last resort choice, that some families may exercise. Many families wont, but that exactly is the point. IT IS A HUMAN CHOICE. Why is it okay to bomb countries can kill kids and babies? How is that not “murder”. The anti abortion rhetoric is ridiculous and almost always stems from this Christian belief that “GOD” has said so. No God did not say anything. The Bible along with all other religious books are man made doctrines and set of moralities that they perceived during their times. Palin caters to fools like Eyes of Texas, because you guys are fools. Absolutely ignorant about the Planet and the future of this country. The reason it is important to bring her daughter is because shes preaching all this nonsense about abstinence funding, banning condoms from school and colleges and her own freakin daughter in is pregnant at 17 years. How the hell can you tell me and my family how to live and act in our lives when something like that happens, when you yourself could not prevent something drastic in your own life?

  • 22 Implicx // Sep 4, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Do you guys even know what she thinks about Global Warming. She claims it to be God send and not man made first of all. Wants to drill oil everywhere as suppose to make alternative fuel the first line of defense. Wants to teach Creationism stories in public schools, disregarding the fact that 4.5 Billion people on this planet do not believe in that story.

    It is important to note that only half of the country is Republican. And in that half a good percentage are hardcore like Palin. Thus she is catering to a very specific group, as suppose to the entire country. We are not fighting individual battles here, it is the future of an entire Nation. Palin is not the right choice for us, because she will make religion the deciding factor on most issues. Its remarkable and stunning how an educated, democratic and industrialized nation has half of its population in ignorance and arrogance [The Republicans]. The dont know a scratch about the real issues of terrorism, economy, freedom and progress. And by “they” i mean the majority of them foolish Republicans.

  • 23 mgear // Sep 4, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    According to a 12/10/06 article in the Herald Tribune:

    “While the 49th is an Alaska National Guard unit, Hildreth reports to Colonel Michael Yowell, commander of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, based in Colorado.”

    So apparently Palin is NOT Commander in Chief when it comes to this “special” unit. Funny that the original blogger who wrote this up never mentioned that. Note that this blogger never actually said that Palin commanded the 49th. He or she only said that the 49th was in Alaska. Hmm…

    It’s scary how fast misinformation can travel. This particular misinformation already appears on dozens of websites(often plagiarized, I may add).

  • 24 DexterManley // Sep 10, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    @ OJOS DE TEJAS: You know very well about the “class system” among Latinos OUTSIDE of the US and despite it playing to my advantage, I hated that kind of bigotry. But, son, with all of your insults about Obama and Muslims (who are my cousins), it brings back all the prejudice and snobbery.

    Your navy service means la v___a to me; your brown skin and pure Mexican blood means la p___a to me and I’m very glad to have a Russian naval presence nearby just in case those two Rapturists get into office and take a notion to get involved in matters that don’t concern them in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

    I hope Obama will be elected president and from all I can tell he’s a Christian. If here were a Muslim, that would be fine, too. I’m judio ashkenaz and I got no gripe with muslamanes. Where does all your hatred come from? Maybe because you see that your own prejudices are holding you back and Muslim Americans are skyrocketing past you, Don Pura Sangre, si o no?

    Me, I speak unaccented English and with my white skin and nice clothes (and no cheap cologne or gold chains), I could go places and be accepted in places that would never let you past security. Yet, I’d never throw in with gringos. I hope Obama allows full amnesty and no fines or punishments or anything.

    My ancestors got to Panama on a nice steam ship. How much fun do you think it has been for your “hermanos” who had to spend years and years ducking and dodging.

    Dime, Don Pura Sangre, dime.

  • 25 DexterManley // Sep 10, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    @ OJOS de TEJAS: And if by some chance you think that we’ve forgotten about OPERATION JUST CAUSE, think again! That was really “just” of the US military killing 10,000 civilians and making 100,000 homeless to bring one man up on White Collar Charges.

    I would LOVE to see Colin Powell come back here to give one of his BS “motivational speeches” to Bank Of America or something. They’d mail him back labelled parts 1 through 50!

    Even then I didn’t have the hatred of the Republicans that I have now.

    I can only imagine what Sarah Palin says about Mexican-Americans when there’s no press around.

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