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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

Family Matters

By September 2, 2008

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Although I applaud Barack Obama's statement that families should be left out of the campaign, I can't quite bring myself to agree in the case of the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's 17 year old daughter. Why? Because it speaks to her position on a very important issue - teaching teenagers about sex. The Republican vice presidential candidate has come out in favor of abstinence-only education, and does not support comprehensive sex education. So, while I'm thrilled that the young lady has the support of her parents in her difficult choice, I do wonder how many choices she really had. Her mother is anti-choice and anti-sex education. What options did Bristol actually know about? Given the fact that her family is so thoroughly in the public eye, what choices did she really have?

I feel terrible that this young lady has been forced into the public eye at a time that must be very difficult for her. I can only hope that things will work out for the best - both for her, and for other young women across the United States. Perhaps this situation will actually further the cause of sex education advocates. If the daughter of a well-educated prominent right-wing political figure is still choosing to have pre-marital sex, that should help to convince other parents that they can't expect to be able to control their own teens' choices - at least not all the time. What can they do? Educate them about how to make those choices safely. It would be nice if all pregnancies were not just wanted, but planned.

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