In Bristol Palin’s decision to speak at a Kentucky-based maternity home for single moms next week, she appears to be switching things up. While she’s more known for stumping for the abstinence cause in PSAs, this time the subject is teens, such as herself, who have carried their pregnancies to term. Sexual health advocates have already started to weigh in with talking points that stress the importance of combining strategies of abstinence, contraception and proven sex education programs. Along with all this, Palin should use this platform to boldly support policies that actually help teen moms.
Prevention is vital but the issues that surround unintended pregnancy for teens don’t end there. While many teen pregnancies are unintended, some girls still decide to carry these pregnancies to term and they deserve support, too. One program that is key in assisting many teen moms nationwide is WIC. This program, known formally as the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, supports more than 9 million people a month with food, nutrition education and health screenings. WIC has largely been proven as successful and it expires at the end of this month.
Earlier this year, Bristol received much deserved criticism for not being sensitive to the class implications of her prevention messages. Considering the timing of her speech and her unique opportunity to educate people about a policy that conservatives all too often mire in the frame of welfare fraud, Palin has a real opportunity to redeem herself.