I’m getting really tired of all the blog comments I’m seeing to the effect that people feel sorry for Bristol Palin because her mother obviously is forcing her to have that child, or that somehow this is what Sarah Palin gets for opposing abortion (because if she didn’t, Bristol would have “taken care of it” in secret, apparently). If you call yourself pro-choice, acknowledge the possibility that people who are not you might not actually want abortions, even when you think they should.
Also, I’m seeing a lot of crowing about the teenage daughter of a sex-ed opponent becoming pregnant. I’m about as pro-sex-ed as they get, but I have a lot of problems with that. First of all, I’d like to think we’re above scoring political points on the back of a 17-year-old who’s going through the hardest time of her life. Barack Obama agrees. Second, we have no idea what the Palins taught their kids about sex. We know that Sarah Palin doesn’t want kids to get “explicit” sex ed in public schools. She may believe that kids shouldn’t learn anything about sex except “save it for marriage”, or she may believe that the most appropriate place for discussions of sex and contraception is the home. We don’t know.
Besides, nobody ever claimed that either abstinence-only or comprehensive sex ed was a foolproof method of preventing teen pregnancy. Kids who’ve had comprehensive sex ed sometimes make babies too, and I wouldn’t want abstinence-only advocates using every one of them as a club to promote their agenda.
The argument for comprehensive sex ed is that people deserve complete and accurate information about their bodies, and that information will help (not compel) them to make healthy decisions. That’s true no matter what kind of instruction the unfortunate daughter of a high-profile politician may have received.