And a Pregnant Kid Wouldn’t Be Such an Issue Either, Except the GOP Has Made it One
Perhaps there’s nothing eye-popping about a small-town mayor rejoicing over a big-time check from Washington, but in the context of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s claims to rugged federalism, the celebration takes on a new meaning.
Similarly, there’s nothing inherently unusual or terribly controversial about a 17-year-old getting pregnant — unless her mother is a powerful politician whose position on sex education borders on Puritan. As was widely reported this week, Palin’s 2006 response to a questionnaire from the conservative Eagle Forum Alaska left little doubt why reproductive rights groups are cringing at the thought of her winning the White House:
Q: Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?
Palin: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.
Palin is also a member of Feminists for Life, an anti-abortion group whose Web site states that, “Preconception issues including abstinence and contraception are outside of our mission.”
It’s one of those issues where America’s culture divide is very real — and neither side looks ready to give ground any time soon. Indeed, just this summer, the Bush administration proposed new rules blurring the lines between birth control and abortion.
“It-Takes-A-Family” conservatives have held tightly to the idea that public school is no place to learn the art of safe sex. Still, the experience of Bristol Palin might be evidence that the village has a role to play as well.