Tuesday, September 02, 2008

So this is the only relevant part about Bristol Palin's pregnancy, as far as I'm concerned:

No, Sarah Palin is not a hypocrite as such on -abortion- because her kid got pregnant and is having the kid. And no, the scandal as such should not be an issue. And, sure, "choose life," fine, it's still a choice...but here is my concern, well, one of them.

a) -Is- it really -Bristol's- choice? I mean it's great and all that Mom is speaking up -for- her, but um. Where's Bristol herself in all this? She's seventeen and still very much under Mom's thumb; the pressure to do what Mom wants must be enormous. I'm not saying she may not really want to keep the kid and participate in "family values" with the father. I'm just saying: if it so happened that she didn't? She'd kind of be screwed, it seems to me. I mean, hi: no pressure, there. True for many minors; I think it'd be -worse- when Mom's a major public figure (which she already was, lest we forget, even before the veep selection).

also: -mono-?

b) And here's where the "hypocrite" part does have some resonance: What about sex
ed, y'all? What messages did Bristol get, exactly?

Because, Sarah Palin, you know, is for "abstinence only"(...among other things.)

3. Will you support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education instead of for explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics, and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?
JB: We should not exclude abstinence-until-marriage education programs.
SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support...

The above, btw, is taken from an Eagle Forum questionnaire that "was sent to all candidates for [Alaska] Governor with their responses listed in the order [Eagle Forum] received them." Note that all of the other candidates did not respond to this one, including the other three Republicans.

And then, too:

SP: I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor’s determination that the mother’s life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent’s life.

2. Will you support the right of parents to opt out their children from curricula, books, classes, or surveys, which parents consider privacy-invading or offensive to their religion or conscience?

SP: Yes. Parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.

So, among other things, we do learn that the buck stopped with SP, for what Bristol was "taught" wrt sex ed. Which apparently, assuming Palin was consistent, would've been limited to, "don't do it."

How's that working out?

And more to the point, how's that going to work out for a lot more young women if Sarah Palin gets into the second-highest appointed office in the land?

Oh, btw, here's McCain himself on the issue(s):

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.

...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.


Reporter: “Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?”

Mr. McCain: “Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn.** He believes – and I was just reading the thing he wrote– that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”

(Mr. McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)

Mr. McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

...Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

I feel reassured, don't you?

ETA: Renee over at Global Comment has a number of salient points as well:

Though Bristol is going to have a difficult time having this child in the public spotlight, there are many issues that she will not face. If Bristol lived in Harlem, and her name were Latifah, this conversation would take a very different tone. That Bristol is a child of privilege, and is white, will forestall the questions of who is going to pay for raising this child. If Bristol were a Latina, there would be cracks about whether the baby was conceived to drain the limited social safety net and achieve US citizenship

Race and class will protect Bristol from the attacks that poor Black and Latina women face on a daily basis when they decide to become mothers. She will not have to negotiate social services trying desperately to get pre-natal care. She will not be looked upon as a social leech, or a raving whore. The aforementioned are labels that are attached to WOC. She will not lay awake at night wondering where the money to raise this child is going to come from.

...We will pretend that we are having conversations about morality, while ignoring the real issues of race, class and gender in our understanding of motherhood. In the end she will emerge reborn and reconstituted, a tribute to what white women are meant to do - breed.

But hey, we can hold office now, too, a very few of us at least, and that's what really matters, right?

**ETA again: Btw, in case you, too, were wondering, "whom?" this is "Dr. Coburn:"

Tom Coburn is a Republican Senator from Oklahoma, and he’s not a subtle guy. During more than three years in the Senate he has spoken out against both sex education and contraception (which didn’t prevent Bush from appointing him co-chair of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS). A 2007 article on his government-sponsored website likens sex ed to pornography.

He is a self-proclaimed unwavering defender of the sanctity of “life”. That being said, he believes unequivocally that anyone performing an abortion should be put to death by the state.

Coburn’s Chief of Staff is Michael Schwartz. During the 2007 conference entitled “Confronting the Judicial War on Faith” Schwartz distinguished himself with a speech in which he advocated

“the mass impeachment of judges” and denounced the Supreme Court for giving Americans “the right to commit buggery.”

In the 80’s Schwartz was a founding member of Operation Rescue, the vigilante “pro-life” group that has advocated militant tactics...

Yeah, THAT Tom Coburn. Senator Tom Coburn. It took me a minute because I wasn't used to thinking of him as "Dr.," for some strange reason. You know, this guy:

In 1997, Coburn introduced a bill called the HIV Prevention Act of 1997, which would have amended the Social Security Act. The bill would have mandated HIV testing in some situations, would have allowed physicians to demand an HIV test before providing medical care, and would have allowed insurance companies to demand an HIV test as a condition of issuing health insurance.[25]

In 2000, Coburn sponsored a bill to prevent the Food and Drug Administration from developing, testing or approving the abortifacient RU-486. On July 13, the bill failed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 182 to 187.[15] On the issue, Coburn sparked controversy with his remark, "I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life."[16] Coburn also objects to legal abortion in cases of rape, and he has justified his position by noting that his great-grandmother was raped by a sheriff.[17] In the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings concerning Samuel Alito, Coburn asserted that his grandmother was a product of that rape.

...Coburn has also been quoted as saying:

“ "The gay community has infiltrated the very centers of power in every area across this country, and they wield extreme power... That agenda is the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today. Why do you think we see the rationalization for abortion and multiple sexual partners? That's a gay agenda."[6]

but best of all wrt the good Dr.:

A sterilization Coburn performed on a 20-year-old woman in 1990 became what was called "the most incendiary issue" of his Senate campaign.[27] Coburn performed the sterilization on the woman during an emergency surgery to treat a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, removing her intact fallopian tube as well as the one damaged by the surgery. The woman sued Coburn, alleging that he did not have consent to sterilize her, while Coburn claimed he had her oral consent. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed with no finding of liability on Coburn's part.

The state attorney general claimed that Coburn committed Medicaid fraud by not reporting the sterilization when he filed a claim for the emergency surgery. Medicaid did not reimburse doctors for sterilization procedures for patients under 21, and according to the attorney general, Coburn would not have been reimbursed at all had he not withheld this information. Coburn says since he did not file a claim for the sterilization, no fraud was committed. No charges were filed against Coburn for this claim.

This, once again, is the guy to whose opinion McCain is deferring on all matters reproductive and sexual, the guy he "really respects."

Just noting.

I guess, you know, he would count as a sort of "maverick," would Coburn, on account of he's "someone simply uninterested in being popular" (so sayeth George Will, at least). It is a nice way of saying he's stubborn and has a bad tendency to say jaw-droppingly rude and ill-considered (at best) things. Moderate, though...not s'much.

And McCain himself? Still think he's a "moderate?" Still think Palin's probably at least sort of okay on account of hey she's got female bits? Still think Obama wouldn't be any better? Feminists? Moderates? Bueller?


hysperia said...

Oh cheebz, surely Bristol Palin, whose pregnancy is international news, has not been saved from anything at all. Perhaps middle class white girls whose mothers aren't running to be VP of the US are saved the bigotry that young racialized women are subject to. But NOT Bristol Palin.

hysperia said...

I didn't mean to say that Bristol Palin has been subjected to bigotry. But just that the notoriety and the construction of her as a "slut" surely couldn't get much worse. I'm so tired of it all, perhaps I'm not explaining myself well, even now. I'm hoping you'll know what I mean.

belledame222 said...

well, I think what Renee means is that the tenor of public erm discourse would be a lot lot nastier if it were, say, Obama's kid. I don't think she's wrong. That said, yes, it's plenty bad enough, and I have nothing but sympathy for Bristol herself.

Daisy said...

But her pregnancy IS a relavant issue, unfortunately, since the right-wingers have made abstinence the rule. As a Catholic, I am also very uncomfortable with abortion and therefore, did NOT WANT TO MAKE THAT DECISION for my kid. As I wrote here, I had that issue staring me right in the face, and knew I had to act. Yes, I would prefer my kid was not climbing out of windows to meet with video store clerks, but once I knew this was happening, could NOT HIDE MY HEAD IN THE PROVERBIAL SAND.

If someone is anti-abortion, why risk that for your own child? See, this is the part of the story that gets to me. I am like, HUH??????

Now that my daughter is an adult, she can make her own decisions, and has. It's HER life. But if one is truly upset by abortion, do you want your kid to have one??????? Then DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!!

I am left with the only other possible explanation, which Amanda posted on the other day, that they really do believe in compulsory pregnancy for everyone, kids too.

She is a lousy fucking parent, and yes, since she is propagating that lousy parenting AS POLICY, it deserves to be talked about, dissected and criticized.

Roland Hulme said...

That's a very verbose way of saying something I agree with you 100% about.

Sarah Palin is for 'abstience only.'

Look how well that worked out for her.

The problem with the Republicans is that they want to ban abortions, but don't want to do anything sex positive to prevent unwanted pregnancys.



belledame222 said...

unless, as Daisy notes, they really do want every woman married and having kids, the earlier the better, even.

I have to say, though, that even if Palin espouses that kind of "Quiverfull" crap on paper, I'd think a powermonger such as herself would want her own kid to y'know go to school with all the appropriate accolades and shit first, at least. I mean I can't imagine she actually -wanted- Bristol (Bristol??) to get pregnant out of wedlock at seventeen...