Bristol Palin does not support abstinence-only

Screenshot of Bristol Palin on Fox News

Despite the widespread media attention teen mom Bristol Palin is getting for promoting abstinence, her actual message is a lot more nuanced.

Take, for example, this latest Fox News headline, Bristol Palin Sends Message of Abstinence for The Candie’s Foundation.

Yet check out what Bristol actually says in the segment when asked about the rising teen pregnancy rate in the U.S:

“I think it could be any number of things. There are different programs reaching out to teens, anything from changes in the economy to changes in availability of contraceptives or comprehensive sex education. It is really a number of things that are going on.”

So perhaps in addition to noting that Bristol does advocate waiting to have sex, the media could also point out that she also supports a comprehensive sex education message that recognizes the importance of the availability of contraception.  I know, wishful thinking.

Related: Bristol Palin: Don’t get pregnant unless you’re privileged

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18 Comments

  1. TabloidScully
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    To me, this seems another case of a celebrity spokesperson saying one thing while actively practicing another. Kind of like Sarah Palin preaching abstinence while her own daughter was having sex in her home, and Bristol’s own advocacy while she was probably still having sex with Levi Johnson.
    Perhaps Bristol is now in favor of comprehensive sex education, but that’s questionable. The Candie’s Foundation certainly isn’t on the record as being so progressive, and a commenter on the previous post pointed out that the website has a wealth of articles promoting the benefits of abstinence.
    If Bristol has had a change of heart, AWESOME. Because we do need comprehensive sex education in the status quo. It seems somewhat disingenuous, following her previous interview with Oprah taking the hardline stance that she will never again have sex before marriage (so, abstinence is apparently unrealistic for everyone but her). Also, it will take more than one interview following the controversy plaguing her PSA campaign.
    Not that we can blame “the media” for making the assumption that Bristol’s ideology hadn’t changed. After all, the PSA doesn’t end with “Pause before you play. But if you can’t, use protection” or some comparably solid pro-contraceptive message. Bristol, as Candie’s Teen Ambassador, should be insisting on working with companies consistent with her comprehensive message, or not working with them at all.
    Otherwise, what do you expect a duck to do but quack?

  2. lrnelson
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but I’m interpreting her statement as *blaming* comprehensive sex ed for rising teen pregnancy rates. Isn’t she responding to a question about the *causes* of rising teen pregnancy rates, and isn’t she basically saying that comprehensive sex ed is one of the factors that’s contributing to that rise in rates?

  3. daveNYC
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    VAN SUSTEREN: Christine, what do you attribute the growing numbers of teen pregnancy to? I suppose there’s not one single fact there, but what are the contributing factors.
    B. PALIN: I think it could be any number of things. There are different programs reaching out to teens, anything from changes in the economy to changes in availability of contraceptives or comprehensive sex education. It is really a number of things that are going on.
    Technically it’s a value neutral statement. She’s saying that changes in availability of contraceptives or unstupid sex-ed make a difference, but she doesn’t actually say anything specific about whether increases in availability increase or decrease teen pregnancy. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of condoms.

  4. Ms. Junior
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m not one hundred percent sure of the meaning behind her statement, but I do feel really bad for Bristol Palin. Sarah Palin has used her children for political gain, and because Bristol Palin was pregnant during the presidential campaign, she was forced to apologize for having sex, and turned into an abstinence-only spokesperson. Bristol Palin is still really young, and I think that she’s being pressured by so many outside forces (predominately her mother) to act a certain way, that ultimately it will be a really long time before she is able to make decisions on her own and find her own voice. Regardless of whether or not I agree with her, I hope that she finds her voice soon.

  5. Sloppy Sandwich
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    The founder of the Candie’s foundation is on the record as being in support of comprehensive sex ed, even if he doesn’t name it that explicitly:
    “When the question is asked, what does The Candie’s Foundation believe in — abstinence or safe sex? We believe the answer is both. Whether we, as Americans can agree on safe sex vs. abstinence is not the issue here; the issue is educating teens about pregnancy prevention.”

  6. genericjanedoe
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I think she’s saying that changes in the availability of …comprehensive sex education is one of the reasons why there’s a rise in rates. Like comprehensive sex ed and contraceptives aren’t as available and that’s a challenge.

  7. Jessica
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    No, she’s talking about lack of access to those things.

  8. paperispatient
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    That’s how I interpreted it as well.

  9. Hypatia
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Why is she saying that contraceptives are one of the reasons teen pregnacy is increasing? Antithetical….??

  10. JJ
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    What I want to know is: how does “changes in the economy” constitute a “program” which is reaching out to teens?
    If the economy is a program, well….it’s a pretty shitty program.

  11. lemur
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I think she meant that a change in the economy can mean unemployment/less money for a teen to pay for birth control. People are having to make hard choices, and often times cutting a form of birth control saves a little money. $50 packs of bc become $10 packs of condoms etc.

  12. newyorkred1
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    She says changes in availability of contraceptives, not the contraceptives themselves.

  13. daveNYC
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    She’s saying the availability of contraceptives. But she isn’t making clear whether it is an increase or decrease in availability. Given the amount of misinformation about sex-ed, and the general stupidity of the human race, I don’t want to make assumptions about what she really meant.

  14. TabloidScully
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Even if he’s since come out on the record as being in favor of comprehensive sex education, it strikes me as another example of someone saying one thing while actively doing another. A quick traipse through their PR and awareness campaigns will verify that they most certainly favor an abstinence-only approach.
    Consider their “I’m Sexy Enough to Keep You Waiting” campaign, which markets attractive females in tight tank tops emblazoned with that phrase. Not that there are any males in boxer shorts or undershirts present, of course.
    Not to mention a SLEW of other ads sending a strong, definitive abstinence-only message–my favorite is “Be Vocal–Say No Way.”
    Kind of hard to say you’re in favor of comprehensive sex education when your own awareness campaign takes a non-comprehensive approach.
    That, and generally speaking, I’d argue abstinence-only approaches and comprehensive sex education plans are pretty mutually exclusive. Abstinence believes sex won’t happen under any circumstances, whereas a comprehensive approach assumes you’ll probably have sex at some point and need to allow it to happen responsibly. To say you’re in favor of both when they primarily exist because of believing the other is a fallacy.

  15. Rachel
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Yea… I know she’s not the most articulate girl, but I think it’s pretty clear that she’s responding to the question about CAUSES of teen pregnancy, and cites those (programs and contraceptives) as examples. (rolls eyes) Besides that, wouldn’t saying something like in favor of a different policy break her contract with Candies and the other right-wingers she’s signed on with?

  16. Sloppy Sandwich
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Supporting abstinence and safe sex IS comprehensive. His statement doesn’t say “only” regarding abstinence.
    Your right, though, Candie’s Foundation does seem to be awful cozy with the abstinence only crowd.

  17. JJ
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I figured that’s what she was referring to; I was just poking fun at her choice of words and the poor logical structure of that sentence. :)

  18. kattiekhiba
    Posted April 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    The Candies Foundation is not abstinence-only. They recently signed a SIECUS petition to Congress to reject ab-only funding (I saw the petition). They’ve never said they’re ab only and they have safe sex info on the site. They even got Bristol to talk about condoms on Good Morning America when she launched the PSA.

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