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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Abstinence Clearinghouse Commends Gov. Palin's Response to Daughter's Pregnancy

According to Leslee Unruh, Founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, “The Abstinence Clearinghouse commends Governor Sarah Palin’s family for their compassionate and reasonable response toward their daughter Bristol’s pregnancy. We respect the Palin family’s privacy.”

Young people from all walks of life are daily exposed to sexual messages through billboards, magazines, music, internet, peers and condom educators in the schools. Teaching young people sexual integrity – as is done in abstinence education – how to withstand the pressures of their peers, combat the messages they receive from the media, and how to make the healthiest choices should be top priority when it comes to our youth. Unruh stated, “When it comes to educating our youth about their sexuality – condom education is failing our youth. It sexualizes youth by exposing them to sexual images thus lowering the expectations for their behavior. It puts them at risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases because condoms don’t work 100% of the time. Not to mention the emotional stress and heartbreak that sex itself can cause. Youth need abstinence education, which teaches sexual integrity and offers the healthiest message – how to eliminate the risk from their lives completely. Anything less than the healthiest message should not be good enough for our country’s youth.”

Unruh continues, “Many people have given opinions on what Governor Palin should or should not do in light of her daughter’s pregnancy…there is a saying, ‘Man isn’t made in a crisis, he is revealed.’ In this case, it’s a woman. Governor Palin had a reputation for being strong before this but any mother knows that when someone targets your child, you become even stronger. Governor Palin’s response to the criticism of her daughter’s pregnancy has been respectful and compassionate toward her daughter.”

Unruh concludes, “I think one thing remains clear through this all – parents should be the primary sex educators of their children and when a child makes choices other than the message they have been given by the parents, it doesn’t mean the message is a bad one. We know of thousands of young people who have waited. Wouldn’t it be nice if the media spent as much time showing the success stories of those who have waited until they are married as those who have made mistakes?”

If you or someone you know took a pledge to wait until marriage and you honored that pledge until marriage, send your story to the Abstinence Clearinghouse and indicate if you are willing to speak to the media regarding your decision and why it worked for you. Send the following information to info@abstinence.net:

Your Name
City, State, Zip
Website (if applicable)
Date of Birth
Your story
Picture of you and / or your spouse (if you’d like)


Anonymous said...

I have no problem with parents who tell their kids that it's best to postpone sex until marriage. If that's what you want to teach your children, fine. But when politicians want to implement laws and programs based on that value that have consistently proven themselves ineffective, it's time to face reality.

The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any country in the western world. That's pathetic and inexcusable. But I do not believe it's because of an oversexed media; that's too easy and convenient of a scapegoat. Just look at Europe. Many countries over there are FAR more lenient and open than we are about sex. They allow frontal nudity in their TV commercials, for crying out loud! But these very same countries have significantly LOWER rates of both teen pregnancy and STDs. Why? Because the governments and schools over there are facing reality, recognizing that teens are going to have sex, and equipping them with the education to do it responsibly and safely.

Meanwhile, Americans have their heads buried firmly in the sand and hope their kids will actually save themselves for marriage, so they feel no pressing need to educate young people on contraception. How naive. How stupid.

And where does that get us? Just ask Bristol Palin. If she had known about contraception, where to get it, and how to use it, she might not be pregnant today. And since abortion is not an option, she is basically forced to have this baby. Not only that, but she is also forced to marry the father. Girls who marry that young are statistically more likely to drop out of school and divorce, so we'll see what additional difficulties lie ahead in Bristol's life, all thanks to abstinence-only education and one personal screw-up.

I'm sure Sarah Palin didn't expect her daughter to have sex before she got married, but that's life. All parents have such hopes for their own children, but these things happen. Teenagers make mistakes. Wouldn't it have been great if Palin had recognized this reality and provided her daughter with comprehensive sex education in the event of a less-than-ideal mistake such as teen pregnancy? Instead, her daughter's life is shot -- having a kid when she's still a kid herself, with so many dreams shattered.

Why do we insist on equating comprehensive sex ed as our unanimous encouragement of premarital sex? A good parent would respect their child enough to know he or she will make mistakes; a vow of abstinence does not mean that a teen will STAY abstinent. Governor Palin could have sat Bristol down and said, "You know I expect you to save yourself for marriage, but you're not perfect and you will make mistakes. So I want you to know about contraception in case that happens." Contrary to what many conservatives think, this is NOT the same as a parent saying, "Here's a condom, have fun!" It is having enough common sense not to view your child as an infallible robot; teenagers make mistakes, and the smart thing is to be prepared.

If we want our teen pregnancy rates to settle down to less embarrassing levels, we need to rethink our strategy. Encouraging abstinence via government programs and laws is an admirable approach, but not a realistic or effective one. We can see that already. I wonder when we'll stop dragging our feet and actually do something about it?

Bob Ellis said...

It's true that extramarital sex isn't the whole fault of the media (news, magazines, TV, movies, music), but it definitely contributes to the problem when young people are bombarded by sexual images and messages, along with the expectation that they will "do it" from every corner.

I've lived in Europe and while they have some measure of this, it is laughably small compared to the firehose of it in the U.S.

Abstinence works every time it's tried, and it would be tried more often if there was a consistent message from all sectors of society as there once was.

Contraception, however, often fails--even oral contraceptives. Which is why liberals want to maintain access to abortion; they know it fails.

As for me, I wonder when we'll face the reality that we can't screw our way to happiness and fulfillment, and realize that it's destroying lives and civilization along with it. The evidence is as clear as day, for those with eyes to see.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the principle of abstinence works, and of course contraception fails from time to time. But abstinence without the possibility of contraception is like tightrope-walking without a safety net. If an abstinent teenager messes up, they mess up big. Luck is the only thing keeping them from pregnancy or STDs. If your daughter were to make such a mistake (and if she's human, she could), are you sure you want to take that chance? Do you want her to be a mother at age seventeen?

The smart thing would be to acknowledge the possibility of faltering from abstinence, and providing safeguards accordingly. Condoms can fail, yes, but a potentially faulty condom is better than no condom.

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