In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren earlier this month, Bristol Palin, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter who recently gave birth to a son, said that while she believes “everyone should be abstinent,” it is “not realistic at all”:
BRISTOL: But I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.
In a segment discussing the “Ups and Downs” of the past week, Fox News’ Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes said on Saturday that Bristol Palin is now “the new face of teen pregnancy.” After playing a clip of Palin’s abstinence comments, Barnes claimed that what she was really saying was that “abstinence is actually realistic”:
BARNES: I guess so. That means she’s saying that abstinence actually is realistic. Either way, it’s certainly not fool proof. People slip, particularly teenagers, but not only teenagers.
As ThinkProgress has previously noted, abstinence-only education has proven to be completely unrealistic. Federal studies have found that abstinence-only sex education “does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.”
In November 2007, 10 leading scientists in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health warned that abstinence-only education withholds “information that may be critical to protecting the health of young people.” This past April, health experts told Congress that abstinence-only education programs “have not cut teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases or delayed the age at which sex begins.”
KONDRACKE: Up, Bristol Palin. as the new face of teen pregnancy, she sparked the age-old debate. We’re giving her credit for her no-nonsense candid. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRISTOL PALIN, DAUGHTER OF SARAH PALIN: Everyone should be abstinent, but it’s not realistic at all. It’s something that — I don’t know, you should just wait ten years. It’s so much easier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KONDRACKE: I guess so.
BARNES: I guess so. That means she’s saying that abstinence actually is realistic. Either way, it’s certainly not fool proof. People slip, particularly teenagers, but not only teenagers. I think the real story of her is what she did and what her mother did. She didn’t have an abortion when she became pregnant outside of marriage. And her mother, Sarah Palin, the governor, didn’t have an abortion when she learned the child she was bearing was going to be a Down’s syndrome child. The message is, even if it’s convenient, and nothing more than convenient, you don’t need an abortion.
KONDRACKE: Look, four words that I have to say here are: sex education and birth control. And Sarah Palin should have gone with both at home.
BARNES: That was five words.