Does Sarah Palin still support abstinence-only sex education?

September 2, 2008 | By | 11 Replies More

Although I agree that the families of political candidates should be off-limits to questions, the announcement that Sarah Palin’s unmarried teenage daughter is pregnant raises a question that bears directly on Palin’s qualifications for the V.P. job: given that abstinence-only sex education obviously failed to prevent Palin’s daughter from getting pregnant, doesn’t Palin’s support for abstinence-only sex education clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding and a lack of good judgment concerning this important issue?

Daryl Cagle,

Published at DI with permission


Category: Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Conservatives have a long history of tolerating unmarried women getting pregnant. It goes back 2,000 years, if you include pregnant virgins.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    From BBC news:

    The US is said to have one of the worst annual rates of teenage pregnancies in the developed world.

    According to a report by Population Action International, published at the end of last year, there were 44 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in the US for 2000-2005.

    This compares with figures in the UK – itself said to be the country with the worst teenage pregnancy rate in Europe – of 27 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19.

    Put differently, America is estimated to have some 750,000 teenage pregnancies a year.

  3. Red Rob Reb says:

    What a lame ass post. So all the children who go thru school taking sex ed classes and get pregnant or diseased must prove that sex ed doesn't work at all. Let's ban it also.

    Also some kids do drugs after hearing all the D.A.R.E. lectures. Elimanate them. (The lectures. Not the kids. ummm. Okay. The kids also.)

    At least the daughter is keeping the baby. Not having it sliced up with a knife, the sucked out of her womb with a shop vac.

    The only sure method of birth control is abstinence only.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Red Rob Reb: Where is your evidence that "abstinence-only sex education" works?

    Hint: there is no such evidence. In fact when you look at real-world evidence, you'll see the opposite. Abstinence-only sex education is a joke. It does not reduce unwanted pregnancies. It doesn't keep kids from having sex. It keep kids in ignorance. Sarah Palin's daughter is a typical outcome of "abstinence only sex education." It is not based on real science.

    Also see here.

    Teens who received comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to report becoming pregnant or impregnating someone than those who received no sex education.

    "Abstinence-only" sex ed is risible:

    Having written the above, I am a big believer in preaching abstinence as a part of legitimate sex education. Many kids aren't ready for sex. They should be taught techniques for resisting the pressure to give in when they are not fully prepared. What I oppose is "abstinence only." I want kids to know about condoms, birth control pills, diaphragms and other techniques for preventing pregnancy.

    Are you really interested in reducing unwanted pregnancies or are you merely pushing a formula that you are unwilling to examine skeptically?

    As far as your characterization regarding abortion, I respect your right to characterize a pea-sized or grape-sized embryo as a life that should have the same protections as humans that are already born. I don't share your views, however. In my opinion it is not my place to tell women what to do when they are pregnant with early-term pregnancies. Here's my view regarding early term pregnancies: Is it alive? Yes. Is it human? Yes. Is it therefore a human life? Yes.

    Is it a "baby?" No. Not yet. I would not restrict early term pregnancies for the many reasons I discussed elsewhere on this site. I share your views regarding the abortion of late-term healthy baby pregnancies. For example, to abort a 8 1/2 month pregnancy, where the baby is healthy and where the mother's life or health is not endangered, is something that repulses me.

    I've heard all the arguments. I'm sure you'd call me a moral monster. If so, I would ask you when was the last time you heard of a funeral for an early term pregnancy miscarriage? When was the last time that you heard of parents naming their early term pregnancy, so early that they didn't know the gender?

  5. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Most abortions are spontaneous abortions. Many of these occur before the woman even is aware that she is pregnant. Rarely spontaneous abortion occurs later. It is a natural process that reduces the number of defective births.

    As to the pregnancy of Palin's daughter, it simply is an indication that the daughter does not excercise a belief in abstinance. It does point to the folly of trying to control the private lives of others through legislation.

  6. "The only sure method of birth control is abstinence only."

    Saint Mary proved that even that method can fail. You shouldn't be so trusting, young man. Maybe you have already fathered a child without having sex.

  7. grumpypilgrim says:

    Setting aside questions about Palin's competence as a parent, I have to wonder what sort of message this whole spectacle sends to teenagers across America. Palin's nomination says to young women that they don't need to be competent to get a job interview, they just need to compete in beauty pagents, wear designer eyeglasses, look nice in a skirt, and catch the eye of a rich sugardaddy. Likewise, the GOP's applauding of her teenage daughter's pregnancy tells other teens that abstinence is just another parental hypocrisy.

    Meanwhile. Obama sends the message to young African-American men that, yes, they too can succeed through hard work and good grades.

  8. grumpypilgrim says:

    Joke for the day: What do you call parents who believe in abstinence-only sex education? Answer: Grandparents.

  9. Tom says:

    Sarah Palin NEVER said the things portrayed in that cartoon. It's a shameful lie that she does not want sex-ed and contraception taught in school, taking a response on a questionaire out of context. In a 2006 debate she stated she thought that it was good to teach kids about contraception in school since they might not here about birth control at home. Do a little research before you start a smear campaign!

  10. Erich Vieth says:


    Sarah Palin's pregnant teenaged daughter is Exhibit A regarding her idea of sex eduction. As is the shotgun wedding to the hockey thug.

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