Bristol Palin’s Dangerous Talking Points


As you’ve probably heard Wednesday
was National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and to kick off the day
the Candie’s Foundation sent its new teen ambassador, Bristol Palin,
to make the rounds of the morning shows and the New York press scene.   

The Candie’s Foundation’s mission
is "to educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences
of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives."

Americans couldn’t get enough of
Vice Presidential-nominee Sarah Palin and her brood during the presidential
campaign, especially pregnant teenager Bristol and her then-fiancé,
Levi Johnston.  So, the foundation’s choice of a spokesperson
was a brilliant move guaranteed to bring much-needed attention to the
important issue of teen pregnancy.  

Unfortunately, the message she seems
to have been asked to deliver is disingenuous at best and dangerous
at worst.   

Since the campaign ended, Bristol
has given birth to a son, Tripp, broken up with her fiancée, and appeared
in an off-the-cuff interview on CNN in which she admitted that abstinence
was probably unrealistic for today’s teens.   Though, today,
she says that that sentiment was taken out of context, one has to wonder
if it isn’t what she still believes.  

Appearing poised and put together,
Bristol’s first live interview was with Good Morning America‘s
Chris Cuomo.  Much of the interview focused on the difficulties
of being a teen mother from the fear of disappointing your parents to
the 24/7 grind of sleepless nights and washing bottles.  Here,
Bristol did a good job of conveying the fact that teen parenting is
difficult and that even with the help, parental support, and national
attention she has gotten, it’s a life-changing experience and she
wishes she had waited to become a mother.    

When asked about how to prevent teen
pregnancy, however, she spouted a strict abstinence message:  "abstinence
is the only way that you can effectively, 100%, fool proof way to prevent
pregnancy."  Though probably a little bungled, this is clearly
a talking point she was given during her media training to become the
foundation’s ambassador.  This became even more clear when, pushed
by Chris Cuomo about safe sex, she simply repeated her abstinence message:
"I’m saying that there is one way to prevent it and that’s not
having sex."  

Bristol went from there to the
Today Show
‘s couch where she sat down with Matt Lauer, her father,
and a peacefully sleeping Tripp.  Again, much of the interview
focused on the difficulties of teen motherhood, and, again, she was
well-spoken and conveyed the message that this is not an easy life path. 
When this interview veered toward prevention messages, Bristol seemed
a little more open to other options.  Specifically, when asked
if there was room for the concept of safe sex she said: "if you’re
going to have sex you should have safe sex" before once again repeating
that "abstinence is the only 100% fool proof way of preventing teen
pregnancy."  

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One has to wonder about the conversations
between Bristol and her media coaches on the way across town. 
Did she ask to be able to speak her mind?  Did they acknowledge
that a teen pregnancy prevention message does not have to, and, in fact,
should not, exclusively focus on abstinence?  We will probably
never know.  

What we do know is this: both Bristol
and the Candie’s Foundation have an excellent opportunity to draw
attention to the 750,000 teen pregnancies that occur in this country
each year (a statistic that both Chris Cuomo and Matt Lauer used as
an introduction to their pieces and millions of morning viewers now
know).  And, they should use this opportunity to promote accurate
information and a balanced approach to prevention.  Abstinence,
when used consistently and correctly, is 100% effective in preventing
pregnancy. But it clearly isn’t "foolproof" and it is not the
"only way."  

Let’s hope that instead of being
so rigid in their messaging, they use this terrific platform to tell
young people (and their parents) that it is important to delay sexual
activity and to use a reliable method of contraception (consistently
and correctly) as soon as they do become sexually active. 

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  • progo35

    Translation of Joseph’s message: I HATE SARAH PALIN, I HATE SARAH PALIN…

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • harry834

    had to think…

  • invalid-0

    If you had listened to the earlier interview Bristol Palin gave, she CLEARLY said that abstinence before marriage is NOT realistic – which means that the only REALISTIC option is to practice SAFE SEX! The only reason she is giving these talking points now is because the horrowshow she has for a mother is FORCING her to do it because mommy wants to run for president! The only problem with that scenario is Sarah will likely be spending time with former governors Ryan and Blagojevich in a federal prison. Stay Tuned for that show!

  • anna-clark

    I feel kinda sorry for Bristol Palin. She looks scared. Wonder what inspired her to take on this campaign–even if it does reconcile with her personal views, she indicates that she’s super-busy with baby and school, doesn’t have time for friends, etc. Why add a national campaign to the mix? What’s going on?

  • invalid-0

    While I disagree with anyone preaching “abstinence, abstinence, abstinence,” because, frankly, it ISN’T realistic and a lot of kids are going to have sex before they’re married, some while still in high school, it’s true that abstinence is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy. Even condoms, when used perfectly (which how many teenagers know how to use them “perfectly,” whatever that means, anyway, especially considering our lovely abstinence-only sex education b.s.), prevent pregnancy 96% of the time, or thereabouts. When you factor in the fact that women can only get pregnant a few days out of each month, using condoms give you pretty good odds. Still, the point is, abstinence remains the only way to prevent pregnancy 100% of the time. Argue all you want with the questionable nature of abstinence-only sex education with all of its attendant misinformation (I sure as hell do), but you can’t deny that statistic.

  • invalid-0

    Sarah Palin had sex before marriage, got pregnant, and got married. Bristol had sex before marriage, and has a baby. I think that the abstinence only message, that they want to spew for others, is a hypocritical one for them to give. After all, it was unrealistic for two generations of their own family (that we know of, who knows about Sarah’s mom’s situation, but at least Sarah’s mom didn’t advocate abstinence.) No one likes a hypocrite. I do pity Bristol though, for having Sarah as a mother. Now Bristol is leaving her young son to travel all over the country and promote unrealistic abstineince only, while her baby needs her. Unbelievable. Like mother, like daughter!

    • invalid-0

      “In Portugal Natalia Zarubina worked in sphere of sexual service, Portuguese emigratory service SEF has arrested her during spot-check on a brothel. The madam had no residence permit (at the moment of detention), therefore has received the notice to leave the country”.

      Help to pull out the poor girl from the Russian hell, sign the petition – Sign the petition online

  • invalid-0

    Hon, you are the hypocrite.

    Sarah Palin has said several times that she supports responsible sex education, including teaching about condoms, because kids might not get the information they need at home. As Governor, she applied for ZERO abstinence only federal funding. Check with SIECUS or NFPRHA. Alaska is not an abstinence only state.

    (Pssst….Election’s over. Its okay to tell the truth again.)

  • invalid-0

    My comment above was directed at JAN. As for Joe – I stopped taking him seriously as soon as I read the word “brood.” He’s making a story out of nothing – taking shots at Bristol Palin. Its never pretty when a grown man goes after a teenage girl.

  • invalid-0

    SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE – TRY CHECKING YOUR FACTS. SARAH PALIN NEVER SAID SHE WAS PRO ABSTINENCE ONLY. SHE DID SAY SHE SUPPORTS TEACHING KIDS IN SCHOOL ABOUT CONDOMS BECAUSE THEY MIGHT NOT GET ALL THE INFORMATION THEY NEED AT HOME. ALASKA IS NOT AN ABSTINENCE ONLY STATE.

    It really chaps my hide when our side – who are supposed to be knowledgeable, fact-based, open-minded – just repeat someone’s campaign talking points without checking their facts. It lowers us to the level of the Bill O’Reilly / Rush Limbaugh fans.

    I realize it was important before the election to say anything and everything about Palin and her family – true or made up – whatever it would take to demonize her – but the election is over and we can get back to being rational again.

  • invalid-0

    “Let’s hope that instead of being so rigid in their messaging, they use this terrific platform to tell young people (and their parents) that it is important to delay sexual activity and to use a reliable method of contraception (consistently and correctly) as soon as they do become sexually active. ”

    Sure, Joe, after you’ve called her “dangerous” and referred to her family as a “brood,” I’m sure Bristol would love to sit down with you to talk about SIECUS’s messages and research.

    LOL.

  • progo35

     

     Jan-all issues about sex aside, Sarah Palin did NOT "leave" her youngest child to travel around the country, and neither has Bristol. Perhaps you’ve noticed that both women have had their babies with them. Moreover, you want Sarah and Bristol Palin to be stay at home moms because that would fit your stereotype of pro life women as people who are oppressed by their children and don’t use their minds, hold independent employment, or participate in any of the other opportunities that feminism has allowed them to enjoy. Sorry, we’re just not like that!

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    I have no idea about whether SP got pregnant before marriage or not, but given Bristol’s situation, an abstinence only message makes sense. Levi Johnson has said that they were using birth control. Obviously, it failed. Thus, it makes sense for her to advocate abstinence as the only sure-fire pregnancy prevention method. Birth control pills react with meds. Condoms break. JAN makes it sound as if Bristol never heard of birth control prior to having (she apparently presumes) unprotected sex. Birth control fails, and I am living proof of that!

     

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    First of all, it did not fail (or break) they didn’t use it consitently. Nothing but comprehensive birth control messages because abstinence is UNREALISTIC! Most teens will have sex, but they should protect themselves, or make a choice between abortion, or continuing the pregnacy if their birth control does fail. In the case of teens, if they get pregnant if their birth control fails, I would much rather see them get an abortion to save their OWN life. Not everyone has a rich family to fall back on like Bristol Palin does.

  • progo35

    You’ve ignored my main criticism, which is that you basically want Sarah and Bristol Palin to "shut up and get back in the kitchen" with their babies rather than taking them around the country with them because their views don’t concur with yours. If it were Hillary Clinton with a baby that she traveled with, you’d be happy about it.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    with a baby. But smart, intelligent woman that Hillary is, she just wouldn’t do it. There lies the difference!! It isn’t just the baby though, Sarah has other young children who need her too. Well, thankfully, Sarah isn’t the VP or President, and never will be. What a disaster THAT would have been for teens and young girls and women everywhere. (as well as our country, she is no where NEAR intelligent or educated enough for the job.) I suppose she would have made all rape victims in America pay for their rape kits, instead of just Alaska. I suppose she would have tried to take choice away. So glad that she will never get that chance. Her choice as a VP contender woke up the pro choice majority in America who weren’t previously paying as close attention, and got them to vote against her in DROVES. and for that at least, I am grateful!

  • invalid-0

    in Joe’s message. Maybe it is because you can’t see past the blinders of your I LOVE SARAH PALIN, I LOVE SARAH PALIN, I LOVE SARAH PALIN. PLEASE.

  • progo35

    Jan-

     Quite obviously, my "I hate Sarah Palin, I hate Sarah Palin" in regard to Joe was in response to what I see as a proclivity on the left toward attacking everything she and her family says or does and using it to further you own agenda. So, you look pretty stupid pointing out that Joe never said that, because everyone knows that he didn’t and that I’m extrapolating that sentiment based on a pattern of behavior on the left, of which he is a member. 

     

     

    Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • http://www.NotAnotherGeneration.com invalid-0

    The problem with Bristol’s “new” message of promoting abstinence is that on the surface it comes across as a responsible message of promoting Abstinence Until Adulthood. Unfortunately, this kind of message is often the delivery vehicle of a dangerous message that a condom is a “provision for sin”. I don’t think Candie’s Foundation takes that view, but they sure play in to the hands of people who do. I think StayTeen is a much more responsible organization, promoting “teen abstinence” AND comprehensive sex education.

    While I agree with religious conservatives who want to challenge the youth to delay sexual activity I disagree with their message that a condom is a “provision for sin”.

  • invalid-0

    Sarah was at one time young and dumb and had an equally dumb daughter…
    Bristol is young and dumb and has had an infant girl who will no doubt do the same.
    The thing is, why do they wait until they make the foolish mistake and then tell everyone not to do it?
    It’s been going on for as long as I can remember, it’s just that people like the Palins will always be there to painfully remind us it will likely never go away…
    I’ve never had sex with anyone, and don’t plan to. I can’t. It’s just something I can never be a part of.
    And it’s something that really no one needs to be a part of. Just leave it alone. No excuses, no maybe laters, no ands or ifs.
    Sex is nowhere near as cherished or special as it was, and I argue never will be again.

  • http://begiftbaskets.info invalid-0

    I wish her everything best. The very serious problems faced by single parents, and their cost to American society isn’t a subject for lame comedic shtick.
    If Bristol Palin does something good with her lesson and helps prevent ONE teen pregnancy, then, good for her.