Poor Bristol Palin
Is the media too hard on Bristol Palin?
The top story today in the politics section of CNN.com involves the recent interview of Bristol Palin by Greta Van Sustern. For those of you who tried to ignore the 2008 presidential election, Bristol is the oldest daughter of Alaska Governor/Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Eighteen year old Bristol is finally opening up to the press about her unexpected pregnancy. She hopes by telling her story she can influence other teens not to have premarital sex. While she admits it’s “not realistic at all” to tell teens to be abstinent it’s also “not glamorous” to have a child. This is news?
Because I followed the election closely, I am quite familiar with Bristol Palin. As her mother is ultra conservative, the news that her daughter was to be a teen mother was a disaster on many levels. Privately, Sarah Palin must have felt like she failed her child. She must have questioned if this would’ve happened had she been more of a mother and less of a politician. Publicly, it wasn’t good news for the campaign. If everyone else got the memo that Gov. Palin is pro-abstinence, why didn’t her own child? Furthermore, if she can’t run her own family, how can she run the country if something had happened to “President McCain”? People would like to blame McCain’s loss on Bristol’s pregnancy. However, were they to really think about it, they’d realize that McCain had no chance of winning. Why would this country, in the state that it is in, ask for four more years?
During the campaign, the press ripped both Palin women to shreds. Bristol’s pregnancy was the joke of the year. Regardless of what your political views are, it was hard not to feel bad for her. Yes. She shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. Still, teen pregnancy is not a new issue. Why was so much made out of this one? I can’t imagine what this time in Bristol’s life felt like.
Months older and now filled with motherly wisdom, Bristol seeks to inform others so that other teen lives don’t come to a screeching halt. While her choice to have the baby will remain a topic of debate, she says that she chose to have her son. Her pro-life mama didn’t force her into keeping him. Though an unpopular view, I believe Bristol. Though his creation wasn’t planned, she’s happy to have him.
At eighteen, my views on a woman’s right to choose were somewhat different than what they are now. I was extremely pro-choice. Abortion was just another operation. Anyone who stood in the way of a woman doing with her body what she wanted to do was wrong. While I still believe this, I’m not nearly as pro-choice as I once was. The more I age, the more I realize how often abortion is used to resolve a sticky situation. Women don’t realize what they’re doing when they are having unprotected sex. They believe that unexpected pregnancy can happen to everyone, but them. These women feel themselves to be above using contraception or abstinence. How wrong they are.
When a teen gets pregnant, you can attempt to excuse it away, blaming it on youth and foolish decisions. For Bristol and her equally young fiancé, Levi, their hormones overpowered their promise to remain abstinent. Had they been raised to know that abstinence is the way to go, but that condoms and other forms of birth control exist and using them doesn’t automatically buy them chairs in hell, would they be in this situation? I know that birth control isn’t fool proof, but it does significantly lower the chance of getting pregnant. While I respect their parents for having such strong moral convictions, they should have educated their children better. It is easy to place all of the blame on Bristol and Levi, but does it really belong there?
I admire Bristol for giving this interview. It took some guts. Now I hope she’ll fade back into obscurity to raise her little boy. Teen pregnancy has been around for ages. We don’t need to read about it.