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Sarah Palin and Abstinence Only Sex Education

“I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits.  People’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.”

“You know, my mother had me when she was 18.  How family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics. I hope that anybody who’s supported me understands that’s off limits.”

Barak Obama

I agree with Barak Obama that Sarah Palin’s family is her own business and not a legitimate campaign issue.  However, I do think that Palin’s public support for abstinence only sex education is and should be a legitimate campaign issue. Her support for it has the potential to negatively affect millions of American teenagers.

A while back, I blogged on the dismal failure of abstinence only sex education to live up to any of its claims or promises.  That post can be found here:  New Study Damns Abstinence Only Sex Education.  Consequently, I believe it is extraordinarily unwise of Sarah Palin to advocate a policy — abstinence only — that is both radically ineffective and most likely dangerous to the health of our nation’s young people.

In my opinion, that she does indeed advocate such a policy speaks volumes about her judgment.

UPDATE:  It now appears her position on abstinence-only sex education is unclear.  At times, she has said things that seem to support it, while at other times she has said things that seem to support a more comprehensive approach to sex education.

UPDATE II:  So far, the best information I’ve been able to find appears to be this report from yesterday (8-6-08) in the L.A. Times.  I’m no longer sure, however, if Sarah Palin actually has a position on sex education.  It’s beginning to seem to me that her comments on it are somewhat spontaneous and rather inconsistent.

UPDATE III: Please note that if Palin’s position on sex education is at any time made consistent with McCain’s, then she can be expected to support the folly of abstinence only sex education.  Moreover, if abstinence only sex education becomes the norm in this country,  the evidence suggests we can expect a rise in out of wedlock teen pregnancies.  In my opinion, both McCain and Palin need to be called out on this issue and assurances sought that they will not attempt to force sexual ignorance on any children other than their own.


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26 thoughts on “Sarah Palin and Abstinence Only Sex Education”

  1. Certainly is ironic that she wants privacy for her own family and yet seeks to impose her religious and moral views on everyone else.


  2. Brian
    There is no evidence that Sarah Palin wants to impose here religious and moral views on everyone else. In fact she has made it clear she does not. Although she advocates absinence only education she has made it clear she does not want to impose this on anyone else. Get the facts before you shoot yourself in the foot again.


  3. Once she’s accomplished her job and gotten another Republican elected President (assuming this condescending tactic is successful), she’ll be inaugurated, then – a few months into her term – she’ll resign “for family/personal/health/whatever reasons” – perhaps the birth of Bristol Palin’s child will be the excuse cited -.and the Reps will have McCain appoint the VP they really wanted but could never get elected.

    It might even be Cheney again.

    – M. \”/


  4. @ Nobama: Palin supports funding abstinence only programs rather than comprehensive sex education. Did you follow the link in the post.

    @ Comrades: I couldn’t find anything about sex education on that site. Could you provide a specific link to the material you were referring to?

    @ Meowlin: I confess I wonder why she was chosen for the slot.


  5. Brian: “There is no evidence that Sarah Palin wants to impose here religious and moral views on everyone else.”

    She wants to impose her religious and moral views on mandatory gestation on everyone else. So does McCain. Even if there weren’t other reasons, that would be enough for me.

    – M. \”/


  6. Nobama and Comrades are the same person — and a troll to boot. I’ve restricted him after deleting two insulting posts of his.

    Let’s try to keep the discussion civil.


  7. So, Sarah Palin still believes in opposing Sex Ed, aye?
    Tell me Sarah; How’s that working out for ya? 🙂

    Oh, wait! Maybe it was an immaculate conception!

    (See my blog for photo)


  8. Wait a second! Going just on what Paul wrote, I don’t understand how this cold be construed as her wanting to impose her moral views on sex education on everyone else. What her position consists of is her not wanting others’ moral views imposed on her children.

    Now, if she proposed a law making it a crfime to teach one’s own children what is normally taught in sex education class, you would have a point.

    My daughter’s schools taught a full sex ed curriculum, but parents had to opt their child in for each class. And I found that inherently reasonable.


  9. As I said in the first comment, when McCain/Palin are elected, they will work to impose federal mandates banning abortion, gay marriage, sex-ed of any kind and all those social conservative issues dealing with morality.


  10. christianliberal: “So, Sarah Palin still believes in opposing Sex Ed, aye?
    Tell me Sarah; How’s that working out for ya?”


    – M. \”/


  11. Wow – I don’t know much about her but from reading those links she looks like a seriously poor choice for any public office more complicated than, say, driving a snow plow. On the up side, it does seem like Obama is getting stronger in the polls since the VP selections came out.


  12. Ummm…. Sarah Palin is definitely not against birth control, and near as I can find, has never really been asked about her views on teaching about birth control in sex ed. People have said that she’s for abstinence-only education, but she’s never said that. She was offered two bad choices, “explicit sex ed” and “abstinence only” and all she said was that she wasn’t going to choose “explicit”. Seems more like a bad interview.

    She’s a member of Feminists for Life which is generally pro-contraception.

    Here’s the actual exchange:

    Q: 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?

    SP: Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.

    Not supporting distribution of contraceptives is not the same as supporting abstinence-only programs.


  13. Well according to Dr. Phil on the Early Show this morning the increase in teen pregnancy rates in this country is due to the “influence of TV.”

    Can’t you people see that it is all Hollywood’s fault and has nothing to do with people in power that demand abstinence only education. If Bristol Palin hadn’t been watching the OC, The Hills and whatever else it is that teen girls watch she would have never had sex and gotten pregnant! DUH! It has nothing to do with policy or parental responsibility!

    It’s not Sarah Palin’s or her husband’s fault. I’m sure that they have learned their lesson now and will restrict those hedonistic TV shows, especially the new 90210 which will have all our teen girls rushing out to get knocked up! maybe if she gets into office she can censor what it is we as Americans are allowed to watch. She seems to know what God’s plan is, just like the war in Iraq! Thank God we have a couple maverick visionaries that will continue the oblivious hypocrisy that has got us where we and Bristol Palin are today, totally screwed!


  14. Pierce, read the quotation again. She didn’t say “I won’t support the distrubition of contraceptives”, she said “I won’t support explicit sex ed programs“, period.

    First of all, somebody explain to me what “explicit sex ed” is as opposed to “implicit sex ed”. I wasn’t aware that sexual education came in two varieties. As far as I can tell you either have sexual education or you have none. And for the past four years we’ve had none in high schools, instead we’ve had something called “abstinence only”. And it’s a disaster. It doesn’t stop teenagers from having sex, it just ensures that they have sex without knowing about the risks, without knowing about the consequences, and takes away the measures to protect themselves from both.


  15. If you want to know Sarah Palin’s position on sex education go to this site http://www.feministsforlife.org/ Sarah Palin is president of this organization.

    Where at that site is there any indication of the organization’s position on sex education? From the absence of information about it on the site, I gather they oppose all sex education — is that right?


  16. Averroes: “My daughter’s schools taught a full sex ed curriculum, but parents had to opt their child in for each class. And I found that inherently reasonable.”

    Hm, well, if you assume parental rights to educate their children the way they want to should prevail over the rights of society it would be.

    On the other hand: would you want to raise your daughter in surroundings where all the boys have been opted out of sex ed? If sex ed (and that can’t be anything else than explicit) reduces chances of teenage pregnancy and the spread of social diseases, I do think people may have at least some right to impose their religious views on believers.

    It’s not just individual parents and their rights, society has rights too and needs to play a role.


  17. Excellent points, Shirhashirim! I completely agree that we must educate kids about sex not just for their own sake, but for the sake of their peers, too.


  18. If you don’t know the meaning of “explicit”, baekho, I suggest using a dictionary. Or you can ask the person who framed the question.

    And if it’s either a “yes” or “no” to sex ed, then abstinence only certainly qualifies as “yes”

    But that is NOT what she said.

    She also didn’t say she was going to campaign in all 58 states (57 with 1 to go) or that 500 million Americans lose their job each month.


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