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Left In Lowell » Blog Archive » The Failure of Abstinence-Only

Left In Lowell

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September 2, 2008

The Failure of Abstinence-Only

by at 9:34 am.

The personal family trials of VP pick Sarah Palin should be off limits. Obviously the press has a right to report and discuss the pregnancy of her 17-year-old daughter Bristol, but hands off interviewing her, her friends and people surrounding her in a paparazzi-like frenzy.

That said, it’s still a legitimate discussion point, particularly because of Palin’s views on abstinence-only education.

Statistics (real ones, not the faked ones we get from the Bush administration) show that teens who get abstinence-only ed, instead of comprehensive sex ed (which always includes abstinence, as well as contraceptive and other alternatives) are just as likely to engage in sexual activity as their more educated counterparts, but of course less likely to know all the information that could prevent them from getting sick or pregnant.

A recent CDC report said that 1 in 4 girls has an STD (sexually transmitted disease). Another CDC report told us last year that abstinence-only was literally ineffective (information which the Bush administration tried to release as quietly as possible on a Friday).

Sadly, it seems that Sarah Palin’s daughter had become another statistic proving this point.

The right thing to do, the moral one, is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. I’m all for that. The route to do so, however, is not to lock your kids in a dark room blindfolded and hope they can trip and feel their way out on their own. I’ll say one thing - the McCain team is as opposed to real science and practical real-world solutions as the Bush administration has been. A fine legacy to take up if you ask me.

So I say let’s leave Bristol alone. However, her mother and her views on sex ed and a woman’s right to choose are totally fair game. And remember, the same right wingnuts who salivate over Palin and her family values are the ones who want to take contraceptives away - from consenting, even married, adults. Overturning Roe v Wade (which both McCain and Palin say they are for) overturns the reasoning for making bans on contraception unconstitutional.

And does anyone believe that McCain really knew about this? Of course he would say he did, even if he didn’t. “Uhhh…I meant to do that!” It’s like a comedy routine, only…it’s not funny.

All this, of course, shouldn’t overshadow Palin’s ethical troubles…which the McCain camp also says they knew about. Except they have now sent a campaign team to Alaska to, um, find out if there’s more to know. Oops!

26 Responses to “The Failure of Abstinence-Only”

  1. Brian F. Says:

    While you don’t make this argument, many on the left are saying that Palin can no longer support abstinence-only education because it failed her daughter. That is foolish - her daughter and her boyfriend are the ones who did this, they knew the potential results. It is like saying someone who teaches kids not to drink and drive need to change their approach because their own kid drove drunk.

  2. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    In my opinion the release of the information about Bristol being pregnant was timed as a diversion to another bit of information released yesterday. Sarah Palin has hired a private attorney to represent her in “Troopergate”.

    Even the Boston Globe article this morning gave it only a brief paragraph in an extensive story about Palin’s daughter, rumors that Palin’s last child was really Bristol’s etc etc.

    Brilliant move on their part knowing that media and the public would focus on the sex story and the Troopergate angle would be passed over!

    BTW, if you missed it, and it would have been easy to miss, Troopergate is the charge that Palin fired the Alaska Commissioner of Pubic Safety in retaliation for his refusal to dismiss a state trooper that was going through a messy divorce with Palin’s sister. Now she’s hired a private attorney to represent her in that investigation.

  3. waittilnextyr Says:

    McCain’s “position” as told to the AP:

    “McCain’s position on contraceptives and teen pregnancy issues has been difficult to judge on the campaign trail, as he appears uncomfortable discussing such topics. Reporters asked the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in November 2007 whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, whether such programs should include directions for using contraceptives and whether he supports President Bush’s policy of promoting abstinence.

    “Ahhh, I think I support the president’s policy,” McCain said.

    When reporters pressed McCain whether the government should provide contraceptives or counseling on contraceptives, he replied, “You’ve stumped me.” McCain said later that he was sure he opposed government spending on contraceptives.

    The McCain campaign on Monday did not respond to repeated requests for information.”

  4. waittilnextyr Says:

    She was given a Hobson’s choice:

    Sarah and Todd Palin said in their brief statement. “We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents.”

    Indeed, wouldn’t she have no decision if McCain and Palin were to be elected.

  5. Lynne Says:

    No, Brian, many on the left are pointing out the irony of her support for abstinence-only in the face of this news about her daughter. I have not seen anyone who thinks we can dictate what another person can and cannot espouse.

    Pointing out that she’s a hypocrite for espousing abstinence-only when obviously her own kid didn’t abstain, that’s legitmate. She has no credibility on this issue now. (Not that the issue itself has any credibility to start with.)

    “they knew the potential results”

    Did they? Maybe they got other information, information about safe sex that wasn’t so safe, but they thought it would be. They didn’t get the RIGHT information from a trained teacher, nor their mother, it would seem, but there’s plenty of info out there, much of it erroneous. It appears she didn’t feel comfortable seeking or asking her parents for contraceptives, does it (unless she became pregnant while on them, which can happen rarely)?

    If their parents never really laid out the truth from fiction and they didn’t get it in schools due to policies her mother supports, but instead had other untruths from classmates or the internet, and they didn’t feel comfortable discussing contraceptives with their parents due to their strict views, nor with each other because of a lack of confidence with regards to this issue due to lack of exposure to it, did they really know what was going to happen?

  6. Peter Says:

    I think this is horribly sexist to discuss this matter. Had her son impregnated some 17 -year-old Alaskan girl we wouldn’t be hearing NEARLY as much about this matter.

  7. Prince Charming Says:

    Off limits?? Bullshit. If this was one of Obama’s daughters, Karl Rove would be so excited he wouldn’t be able to pee. This is an issue because it calls into question McCain’s ability to put together an executive team. As far as her position on abstinence, it matters not. What’s Cheney’s position? Who cares?! Palin’s one of the Reagan Republicans, remember “Just Say NO”? She’s got five (or maybe four) kids. She hasn’t said no to much. Somehow I don’t believe that this was the convention “bump” that McCain was looking for.

  8. C R Krieger Says:

    I am not sure hypocrite is the term for someone who espouses abstinence-only and then their daughter gets Preggers. It seems to me that hypocrite would apply to someone who advocated abstinence-only and then put their daughter on the pill.

    Regards — Cliff

  9. Carrie Says:

    Does anyone seriously believe that a 16 or 17 year okd girl in 2008 is not aware of contraception possibilities? Please.

  10. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Interesting background on Palin from the Anchorage Daily News:
    BTW Barney Frank today said Palin’s family background IS fair game in the campaign since Palin’s family is in great turmoil.

  11. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Some very interesting reading about what appears to be a very vendictive person/family! Start at the bottom story from the Anchorage Daily News and work your way up!


    BTW, Barney Frank today said he believes Palin’s family issues should be fair game because her family is in turmoil. After reading some of these articles and know that she supported absentinence-only, I have changed my mind and agree with Congressman Frank.

  12. Josh Says:

    I don’t know if raising this issue is good for Democrats. The best explanation I saw was here:

    Again, I don’t have a horse in this race (Well, I do, but he’s got a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning), but I think this guy’s analysis is pretty accurate.

  13. Prince Charming Says:

    Damned right it’s fair game. And I say we go after these guys with everything we’ve got. Lee Atwater, George HW Bush and Karl Rove wrote the book on this stuff and we can’t use it against them? Again I say Bullshit.

  14. Shawn Says:

    And remember, the same right wingnuts who salivate over Palin and her family values are the ones who want to take contraceptives away - from consenting, even married, adults

    The link you provide says exactly the opposite, asking what their views would be.. this statement of fact is clearly a left-wing attack on assumed policies.

    But I’m not surprised… the left do hate anyone who may have a differing opinion. If they don’t tow the line, the must be some sort of right-wing nut.

    The info on birth control is available to every kid who can read.. at every clinic, hospital, tv, the internet and most adults they can talk to. Each state has the right to decide what to teach in its schools.. that’s the definition of the 10th amendment.

    Teens make dumb mistakes every day. This situation just proved how much more of a normal family Palin comes from, if nothing else.

  15. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Shawn wrote “…a normal family Palin comes from…”

    You didn’t bother to read any of the articles from the Anchorage paper did you? They sure don’t sound like a “normal” family to me!

  16. kpem Says:

    Sarah Pailin can be judged regardless if she taught her child abstinance or taught her child all about birth control. What she did not teach is good judgement and that is a pretty important thing to know how to do. I am sure this will not change many conservatives votes anymore than picking a gun toting, pro life, ethically challanged female would sway Hillary supporters.

  17. waittilnextyr Says:

    McCain decries ugly rumors by liberal bloggers, with ties to Obama campaign:

    Speaking of hypocrits:

    “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?” McCain said at a GOP fund-raiser in Washington. “Because Janet Reno is her father.”

  18. kpem Says:

    Looks like not much to watch on tv this evening!

  19. joe Says:

    1. I don’t like to read about this soap opera stuff. I’m old-fashioned. Why do I know about this?

    2. Abstinence-only sex ed is a miserable failure of a public policy. It exists mainly to funnel money towards politically-connected, activist religious groups, and does a lousy job of reducing pregnancy and STD rates.

  20. JackIn01854 Says:

    Barney Frank says her family is fair game but Bill Ayres is not??? Interesting.

  21. Victoria Says:

    Thanks, Eleanor, for the links. Fascinating reading. After Palin fired the Public Safety Commissioner, she hired a guy named Kopp who has a history of sexual harrassment. Apparently, she knew that and hired him anyway. He resigned after two weeks because of public outcry.

  22. Lynne Says:

    Hey Shawn: did you read what I wrote?

    It’s unclear what McCain and Palin think of birth control (McCain uncomfortably dodged the question a few times, which doesn’t bode well). However, I SAID (and I quote you quoting me) “And remember, the same right wingnuts who salivate over Palin and her family values are the ones who want to take contraceptives away - from consenting, even married, adults.” The ones salivating - ie - right wing supporters who love this Sarah Palin pick. NOT Sarah Palin or McCain themselves.

    Furthermore you have not been able to explain away the fact - FACT - that overturning Roe v Wade on the basis that there’s no inherent privacy implied in the Constitution means Griswald is on the chopping block for the same reason.

  23. Lynne Says:

    The crap with Ayers is called “smearing,” since there is no evidence of even a hint of wrongdoing on Obama’s part.

    It’s like the Swift Boat Liars in the last election, and lo and behold! funded by the same as*hole.

  24. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    And then there’s the fact that Bill Ayers is not Obama’s running mate and to quote the cliche, a heart beat away from the Oval Office.

  25. JackIn01854 Says:

    Lynne, I don’t believe anyone has ever said there was any wrongdoing by Obama as far as Bill Ayres goes. All that was mentioned was his association with him on a committee and the fact that Ayres held a fundraiser for him.
    Maybe being a knuckle dragging conservative and a graduate of a lowly state college (which by the way can’t count the number of rooms it has available) but those are simply facts. How is that “smearing” as you call it.

  26. Lynne Says:

    Oh really?

    Have you listened to Republicans and “swift boaters”. They are certainly trying to tie Obama to wrong doing.

    And if there’s a there there, of course it should be on the table to discuss. However, there’s abslutely NO evidence. Until there is (and if there were, we’d know it by now for sure, with all these people pouring money into digging) then it’s a nonissue and people bringing it up to cast aspersions on the candidate should be ridiculed.

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