":Where oh where to begin? For a sexologist and sexuality educator, the news about Governor Sarah Palin’s nomination and the subsequent information that has come to light about her family is simultaneously a nightmare and a dream come true. Between her pro-life, anti-sex ed, pro-gun, anti-gay marriage, pro-creationism beliefs and her teen daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy, there is plenty of material to address.
First things first. Full disclosure: I am pro-comprehensive sexuality education, pro-choice (I believe that individuals are entitled to make their choices when it comes to their bodies), pro-same sex marriage, and I firmly believe that religion has no place in public education. And quite frankly, the nomination of Sarah Palin excites me as an Obama supporter, but scares the crap out of me as a woman.
When I was sixteen, two years before I had sex for the first time, I carried a loose-leaf with the words, ":Support Vaginal Pride,": plastered across the front. I had picked the sticker up at a choice rally sometime in 1992. I have always been pro-choice in theory, but until I became pregnant with my son, I didn’t have any idea how pro-choice I really was. While I love my son, pregnancy was excruciating for me. I was depressed, throwing up daily for twenty weeks, uncomfortable, my body felt like it didn’t belong to me, and I had tried to get pregnant! I couldn’t imagine having to go through this (let alone raising a child in the end) if I wasn’t ready physically let alone emotionally. While pregnancy was right for me at a certain point in my life, it definitely isn’t right for everyone, especially a teenager.
Going through with a pregnancy – whether it is a fetus with special needs or not – does not make a woman a hero. It does not make her brave. What is brave is being honest with yourself and determining whether or not you are capable of bringing another life into this world and unconditionally taking care of it. It is equally brave and honest to admit that you cannot care for a baby, and thus, decide to terminate. Palin isn’t a martyr. Let’s be sure that we don’t place her on a pedestal for her actions. She made her decision and many other women make theirs. I am a supporter of all choices and Palin is no better than anyone else.
Yet from a sexually political perspective, Palin is terrifying. Sarah Palin is anti-choice across the board. She doesn’t believe in abortions for girls and women who are victims of incest or rape.
As for Bristol Palin, the Governor’s pregnant 17-year-old, she has followed in the footsteps of many girls this year, becoming yet another statistic of teen pregnancy. I don’t know when it became in vogue for young girls to forgo protection, get knocked up and refuse to consider the option of termination, but clearly our policies about reproductive health services and sexuality education (specifically the abstinence-only movement) have done a great disservice to our youth. Quite frankly this incident underscores the fact that Governor Palin’s adherence to abstinence-only-until-marriage sexuality education is a waste of time and money.
Let’s try to remember that those of us who support a woman’s right to choose aren’t suggesting that all women run out and terminate pregnancies. We believe that every woman has the right to make her own decision: for some that means termination, for others it means continuing the pregnancy. In the end, who am I (and who are all these politicians?) to suggest that women can’t do that? What was right for Palin (and questionably her daughter) is definitely not right for all.":
Dr. Logan Levkoff is a sexologist and AASECT-certified sexuality educator. She is a nationally recognized expert on sexuality, sexual health, relationships, parenting, and sexual politics and is the author of Third Base AinвЂ™t What it Used to Be: What Your Kids are Learning About Sex Today вЂ“ and How to Teach Them to Become Sexually Healthy Adults (2007). Logan frequently appears on television, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox News, and VH1. Logan also pens the sex columns for Fit Pregnancy, MarieClaire.com, POZ Magazine, and Maximum Fitness. Her work with parents, teens, and college students has been featured in many publications, including The New York Times and Newsweek. She lives in NYC with her husband and son. For more information about Logan, please visit www.loganlevkoff.com.
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Love your post!! I agree with you what is right for one is not right for another. What is right for the mother may not be right for the daughter. She does terrify me because it seems as if it is a set back for women and sexual education of our young population. Abstinence may be the way to go for some but in my views this is the same teaching as just say no to drugs. I believe the just say no campaign is a good one but it didn’t work for everyone. To make my point if a youth is curious they are curious. It is even possible that by teaching abstinence maybe that youth may become even more curious. I would much rather have my child properly educated about sex and know their protection options and know how to correctly use them should their curiosity get the best of them.
Your background is very full and I compliment you on your honesty. I have always believe that sexuality isn’t something dirty, or to run away from, and or ignore. In as much: if parents/guardians engaged in conversations with their children, teen pregnancies, sexual transmitted diseases, sexual psychological trauma would be curtailed or at the very least minimized.
Beyond the scope of the tabloid sensationalizing oPlain Palin family: there are various noted examples of failed communications on the most basic levels. Runaway teens drinking, stealing, abuse of drugs and pregnancy are tell-tell signs. Because of the Presidential Campaign, this matter has been silenced and painted pretty for censorship.
Frankly medically assigned and over the counter contraceptive would have been an added advantage in the Palin Family: as in many other families across America. The conflict emerges out of secrecy, deception stemming from control: and phony imagery. Its a terrible plight created to fake out the world, by enclosing a prison on self and others. Oddly religion and not a relationship with God can prove disastrous. False guilt from not measuring to the tone of the drum and or Biblical principles is a powerful scenario of weaponry.
The guilt for the daughter is enormous either generated from rebellion of innocence. Bottom line, choice has eluded Bristol as does in many cases in America. Now that the milk has been spilled, crying wont aid the challenges of the future: only nurturing. How sad when choice eludes us: or is stripped away: particularly with rape and incest.
Wow! You have got quite a theory there. I can tell that you have given this a great deal of thought. I respectfully disagree with you. First of all, why do you make excuses for people’s irresponsibility and carelessness? People need to learn to accept and live with the consequences of their actions. Irresponsibility and a refusal to accept the consequences for oneвЂ™s own actions is a growing problem in our society these days. Why do you think that there is so much bankruptcy? If they are not willing to accept the consequences then donвЂ™t do the action. That is common sense 101. You called people who have abortions as being brave because they realize that they are not ready or able to care for a baby.
Abortion does not make a person brave, nor is it a sign of bravery. What makes a person brave is understanding what he/she is ready and willing to do or not do (i.e. standards) and then establishing guidelines for herself to be sure that she does not compromise those standards. What makes a person SMART (thereвЂ™s a word you never mentioned) is choosing not to have sex if she knows that she is not ready or willing to care for a child, because there is the chance that she could get pregnant if she has sex.
Finally, check the medical records. An unborn baby/fetus is not merely an extension of the womanвЂ™s body. If it were, then all women would have fetuses inside of them. That unborn baby is a separate human life. He /she has a beating heart, a working brain, and the capability of making independent decisions inside the womb, including attempting to dodge the abortionistвЂ™s knife and suction tube. What about that baby’s most basic right: the right to have a chance at life? No doctor, woman, sexologist, etc. should have the power to decide who lives and who dies including the unborn.
You probably do not agree with me, but thatвЂ™s alright. This is my educated belief and I am sticking to it.
McCain &: Palin 2008
I’m pro-choice, but it is not the platform on which I base my vote. I’m also a conservative (at least fiscally). Roe vs. Wade will not be overturned from the bench by conservative judges-that’s not their style-only liberal judges make law from the bench. The Prez &: especially Vice Prez really have little effect on Roe vs. Wade. I do not judge Sara Palin or her daughter. Every woman is entitled to her own reproductive rights/choices-which include giving birth.
I have a counter-question …
When a mom forgets to buy contraceptives for herself, how can she remember to buy for her daughter?
After all, she is just a normal-american-soccer-mom who hunts moose to feed her family. But jokes aside ..
I am pro-choice and I do not like abortions. And I appreciate that Palin and Bristol both chose to have the babies. But, when it comes to RAPE and INCEST, I certainly DO want to exercise my pro-choice option and abort the fetus.
nice long, long, long rant.
I’m much more interested in Obama’s sexual conduct.
He obviously can’t keep his pants zipped when an attractive man (or whatever) like Larry Sinclair comes along.
Just think, if you thought Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office was disgusting,
now it could be some dude in a dress.
Let’s not and say we didn’t.
This is America, not Amsterdam.
I’m sorry, was ther a question in there somewhere????
this is a diatribe…