Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin's America: Teen Mothers and Arctic Drilling?

Why is Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter pregnant?

Republicans have the age-old answer, which is technically correct. Their 2008 party platform says teenagers shouldn't be having sex before marriage.

But on to the real family values question.

In my home state, almost all 17-year-olds knew what contraceptives were. They knew how effective they were. I think that was the only science lesson most of us absorbed in eighth grade, but we definitely absorbed it (and for naysayers, that program was definitely about abstinence. "Educated abstinence." It's not the enemy)

Meanwhile, 17-year-old girls who were having sex (in spite of the potential consequences for their immortal souls!) could drive out to the local Planned Parenthood and get a year's prescription for birth control, gratis. Why was the state handing out the Pill? Because teen motherhood has a high opportunity cost, yo. High for the woman, high for the state.

But we're talking about Sarah Palin's daughter, right? A girl whose highly-educated mother is running for vice president of the United States, who had neither knowledge about nor access to any kind of contraception.

That's Sarah Palin's America, right there. That's the real "Bridge to Nowhere," and Palin has always supported it.

Fact Note: Only 20 states mandate sex ed (not the states one might expect), and there's no evidence that those states have higher rates of pregnancy or abortion.

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