BabyPalinGate A Story About Failed Abstinence

Reading all the headlines today I realize I have a unique perspective to share on the abstinence only-conversative right,a perspective supposedly shared by Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, that I should share.

I grew up in a very conversative, evangelical, right wing, and staunchly republican home. Not only were we pro-life, we were also anti-contraceptive. After attending a conversative christian college and practicing spotty birth control with great shame, I found myself pregnant at 25. After a few days of soul searching, I realized I couldn’t fix one mistake with another and since there was no real chance of marrying the father, and I was not prepared to be a single parent, I choose adoption. It is not a decision I have ever regreted, I had a great attorney, fabulous counseling, an open adoption, where I believe I choose a loving family. This past summer my first born turned 18 and I prepared my other children (I married a few years later, have two wonderful children by my amazing husband) that she might look us up. I hope I can explain to her that I tried to the best for her that I could do.

But here is what makes this story pertinent to the abstinence only right to life sector. Not long after the adoption was said and done I had to really rethink the values that I had been raised with and my mother and I sat down to a heart to heart talk. You need to realize at this point in the story that I have a brother who is 13 years younger than me and a sister is 16 years younger, so at 25 that puts my brother at 12 and my sister at 9. I told my mother that I thought the pro life movement was too narrow minded, that the focus should be more abortion prevention and part of the equation should include abstinence education, but also contraceptives when abstinence fails. She strongly disagreed with me and I asked what would happen if my sister or brother had to go through what I had just been through and she said it didn’t matter.

And guess what? She got her wish, my brother (at a Christian high school I might add) got his girlfriend pregnant at 15, married by 17, divorced by 20 and completely turned off on God. My sister, pregnant out of wedlock by 20.

We are all okay, no horrible outcomes so far, but far from what most parents would wish for their children. And for what reason? In my opinion being too narrow minded, not realizing you cannot nor should not impose upon others a moral code that has consequences worse than first mistake.

This is why I was so excited to hear about the new Democratic platform this year where for the first time we are discussing abortion reduction. Pro-Life and Pro-Choice need to work on finding the middle ground because in reality we all want the same thing. And while I too applaud the Palin family in standing by their daughter during a tough time, is marrying at 17 such a great idea, and would the outcome have been so bad if Bristol could have come to her parents and said, mom and dad, my boyfriend and I are having sex, I need to go on the pill. Why are the options so extreme? So if you are thinking about what values you hold dear as you vote this year, open your mind to the possibilty that we all need to listen more and talk less.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    maryrosie562 said,

    Here I am…the above mentioned sister. I was 20. Unwed. Pregnant. And it’s tricky business. I love my daughter dearly. And I can’t imagine life with out her… But would I want the same for her? Absolutely not. So, this is my thought on the matter: Abstinence is the way to go. And I hope with all my heart my daughter will figure this one out. Things go so wrong so often, even with precautions. It makes my head spin to consider all of the ramifications for her. I am going to teach abstinence. I am going to make it harder than heck for the kids to get the chance to get away with experimenting. And I’m not sure you can teach it if you are throwing condoms at them at the same time. But would I want her to be protected if, history repeating itself, she did become sexually active before marriage? Oh yeah. My thought is that I am going to have another woman I know and respect come beside her and offer her support…birth control, counselling and so forth. I don’t want to make it easy for her, but I don’t want to be oblivious to the fact that statistics are in and the average age people are loosing their virginity is something like 16.5 years old.

    It’s so interesting, because although we have never had this conversation, we hold identical views on the whole pro life/pro choice topic. I wonder if, after ALL of us got pregnant without the greatest prospects, if mom and dad might have sort of backed off the abstinence only mentality? 0 out of 3 isn’t too promising.

  2. 2

    lestyoubejudged said,

    I too love you and your daughter and wouldn’t want anything different for you. But I share your feelings about what you want for your own children. Well put, and thanks for sharing.

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