Bristol Palin Backtracks on Abstinence Views

Filed under: Celeb Kids, In The News

Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah and mother of Tripp, recently made headlines after voicing her opinion about abstinence. A teen mother herself, Bristol told Greta Van Susteren back in February that "everyone should be abstinent, but it's just not realistic at all." Although she admitted that she now wishes she had waited, she acknowledged that sex is "more and more accepted" among her peers.

Palin Family Album

    Bristol Palin has changed her mind about abstinence; she's back on board and is speaking out about why teens should not have sex. Palin and ex-fiance Levi Johnston are the parents of a baby boy, Tripp, born in December.

    Bryan Bedder, Getty Images

    "We both love each other," Levi Johnston, 18, told the AP in a rare interview about his relationship with 18-year-old Bristol Palin. "We both want to marry each other. And that's what we are going to do."

    Paul Sancya, AP

    Levi Johnston called himself a "redneck' on his MySpace page.

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    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd have five children with short, masculine and certainly unique names: Track, 19, Bristol, 18, (with Levi Johnston), Willow, 14, Piper, 7, and Trig, 8 months (not pictured). Read More

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    Sarah Palin initially hid her pregnancy with Trig from the public, causing rumors that Trig was her grandson via Bristol.

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    Gov. Sarah Palin, her husband Todd, and daughters Bristol,16, right, and Piper, 5, at the end of a 2006 inauguration ceremony in Fairbanks. Palin, 42, is the first female and youngest governor of Alaska.

    Al Grillo, AP

    "Trig is beautiful and already adored by us," read a statement by the Palin when Trig was born on April 18. "We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed."

    Paul J. Richards, AFP / Getty Images

    "Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned," the Palins's statement said when they announced her pregnancy. "As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows that she has our unconditional love and support."

    Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images

    Chuck Heath, 70, (pictured with wife Sally), Sarah Palin's father, said gift boxes for his newest grandson are piling up in the governor's mail room from all over the world. There's no way the family will ever be able to answer every letter, he said, although they are trying.

    Charlie Neibergall, AP

    Then-Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, her daughters, Piper, Willow, and husband Todd walk out onto the ice to drop the ceremonial first puck before a St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings hockey game.

    Whitney Curtis, Getty Images



At the time, I admired Bristol for speaking what she believed to be the truth despite the fact that her opinion was in direct conflict with her mother's own abstinence-only views. I thought she showed great strength in doing so and was hopeful that her story might actually serve to help prevent other teens from making the same mistake.

I even thought it was commendable that Governor Sarah Palin wasn't trying to force her daughter to keep quiet and walk the party line. But in an interview with Good Morning America's Christopher Cuomo, Bristol Palin backtracked on her earlier statements and has now jumped on the abstinence-only bandwagon.

"Regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only way you can effectively, 100% foolproof way you can prevent pregnancy," she says.
I won't argue that - contraception does occasionally fail whereas abstinence is always 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, contrary to what she said before, she now claims that she believes abstinence is totally doable for the average teen. "I do think it's realistic. It's the harder choice, but it's the safest choice," she says.

I could speculate for days on just why Bristol Palin changed her tune but that doesn't really matter. What does matter is the mixed message she is sending teens. Her pregnancy wasn't the result of failed contraception. It was the result of failed abstinence. And despite her claim that as a teen mother she is "relatable" to other teens, she doesn't seem to be using that experience to bring anything new to the abstinence-only discussion.

When asked how her new found views square with her own experience with failed abstinence, she admits she doesn't know. "I'm not quite sure, I just want to go out there and promote abstinence and say, this is the safest choice. This is the choice that's going to prevent teen pregnancy and prevent a lot of heartache." It seems she is promoting the "just say no" method and doesn't even know why.

And while Bristol's motivation to join the abstinence-only brigade may not matter much to me, it does to her audience. In her brand new role as an Abstinence Ambassador for the Candies Foundation, she recently spoke at a town meeting forum in New York. After hearing her talk, a teen audience member declared her abstinence campaign to be a "big flop." "I don't think it's her real opinion," says Jerry Kowal. "She's just trying to help her mother. She said it herself that abstinence education doesn't work. I looked it up."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.