Bristol Palin and the consequences of sex

Speaking of babies, the Huffington Post just linked to an article in People Magazine about Bristol Palin. Since the birth of her son, Palin has reinvented herself as a spokesperon for abstinence-only sex education.

In theory, this isn’t a bad idea. I don’t buy into the notion that Palin’s a hypocrite just because she’s advising teenagers not to do what she did. After all, you’d expect a teenage mother to have a better perspective on the hazards of sex than someone who’s never had it. On the other hand, you’d also expect a member of the Palin family to say something stupid whenever the press came knocking, and sure enough, Palin didn’t disappoint.

“If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex,” Palin told People. “Trust me. Nobody.”

Now, there’s a lot going on in that quote, so let’s break it down a little. First of all, Palin seems to think that girls in general don’t know that you can get pregnant if you have sex. In other words, she thinks the average teenage girl doesn’t know where babies come from. I know that sounds ridiculous, but let’s be fair: Bush was in power for eight years, and abstinence-only programs were the foundation of his administration’s sex education policy. So maybe it’s not that unreasonable to think that American girls in this day and age have no idea how women get pregnant.

Secondly, Palin’s statement seems to imply that she got pregnant because she didn’t know the consequences of sex. That’s a little easier to believe. I’ve never met Bristol Palin, and I’m glad she’s raising her child and taking some responsibility for her actions. But I wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t that bright.

After all – and this is my favourite part of the quote – Palin seems to think that as soon as people realize that you can get pregnant from having sex, nobody will want to have it. Trust her. Nobody. So not only do we as a species have no idea how we reproduce, but once we figure it out, we’ll all stop doing it.

I guess that’s why the Bush administration was so hell-bent on spreading misinformation about sex. Apparently, if we ever find out the truth about pregnancy, the entire human race will stop reproducing and die out.

I’m glad that people like Bush and Palin are the most visible advocates for abstinence-only education – because it doesn’t work, and it deserves to be laughed out of the classroom. Thankfully, the Obama administration took a big step forward this month by announcing its 2010 budget, which elimates federal funding for a broad range of the abstinence-only programs in favour of a more comprehensive approach to sex education. With people like Obama rejecting the programs, and people like Palin advocating them, maybe abstinence-only education will finally go the way of the dinosaur.

Not that dinosaurs ever existed, of course. But that’s another absurd debate for another day.

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