Bristol Palin, daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, is the new face of the abstinence movement. It may seem like a funny choice, considering she became pregnant at 17, now has a little boy named Tripp, and just a few months ago said that "abstenence doesn't work." Despite that, I think she's probably a good person for the job because she knows how hard it is to be a single teenage mom.
Bristol made the rounds of the American talk-show circuit on Wednesday morning to promote abstinence on the eighth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. She is the "teen amabassador" for the Candie's Foundation, a national organization that educates teens about the realities of being a teenage mom. Although the organization says it also advocates for safe sex (and not just abstinence), Bristol has said that "abstinence is the only 100 per cent fool-proof way of preventing teen pregnancy."
Speaking about her life as a teen mom, Briston said, "You don't have friends, can't just go to the movies, get your hair done. You put your baby first." Had she not had Tripp, "I would have been to college out of state, hanging out with my friends, a lot more freedom."
It's great that she's using her experience to warn other teens about the consequences of teen pregnancy, but I wish she would also promote safe sex as another option. As I mentioned in an earlier post, abstenence only education DOES NOT WORK, and countries that openly teach young people about birth control and give them realistic options have much lower rates of teen pregnancy. The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industralized world - twice the rate of Canada's.