Teen pregnancy happens and then something worse: marriage. Levi apparently didn't want kids or marriage (how many teen boys do?). It doesn't look like Sarah Palin's daughter has a choice.
Here's what else happens with teen pregnancy, the financial burden of raising a child is placed on the mother. Often, the father bows out leaving the mother alone to fend for herself. But if you're a teen who belongs to a loving wealthy family, the challenge isn't as great. The family will financially support the teen, and care for the child, and in Sarah Palin's case, have the daughter marry.
Republican blogs are selling this as "an American story."
If they'd stop with the glorifying, bloggers wouldn't feel so compelled to blog. Palin has introduced a good reason to talk about how to reduce teen pregnancy so that it works for everyone, not just the wealthy.
CBS: Republican John McCain, whose running mate disclosed that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, has opposed proposals to spend federal money on teen-pregnancy prevention programs and voted to require poor teen mothers to stay in school or lose their benefits.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's announcement Monday about her daughter, Bristol, was aimed at rebutting Internet rumors that Palin's youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter's. Palin said her daughter intends to raise her child and marry the baby's father, who was identified only by his first name, Levi. The baby is due in late December.
McCain's record on issues surrounding teen pregnancy and contraceptives during his more than two decades in the Senate indicates that he and Palin have similar views. Until Monday, when the subject surfaced in a deeply personal manner, teen pregnancy and sex education were not issues in the national political campaign.
Palin herself said she opposes funding sexual-education programs in Alaska.
In Senate votes, McCain has opposed some proposals to pay for teen-pregnancy prevention programs. In 2006, McCain joined fellow Republicans in voting against a Senate Democratic proposal to send $100 million to communities for teen-pregnancy prevention programs that would have included sex education about contraceptives.
In 2005, McCain opposed a Senate Democratic proposal that would have spent tens of millions of dollars to pay for pregnancy prevention programs other than abstinence-only education, including education on emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill. The bill also would have required insurance companies that cover Viagra to also pay for prescription contraception.
McCain voted for the Family Support Act in 1988, which passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and required teen mothers who receive public assistance to remain in high school and, in some cases, to live with their parents.
RCP: The 2008 Republican Party platform acknowledges that "each year, more than 3 million American teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases, causing emotional harm and serious health consequences, even death." It expresses support for "efforts to educate teens and parents about the health risks associated with early sexual activity and provide the tools needed to help teens make healthy choices."
Then it adds, "Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases."
Yes, but talking about abstinence turns out to be easier than abstaining. More than 60 percent of high-school seniors report having had sex at least once. The message that every family should take from Bristol Palin's pregnancy is: It can happen here.