Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bristol Is Pregnant

I am sure some of my regular readers were wondering when and if I was going to get around to commenting on this. In actuality I wrote a post on this issue last week for Global Comment and forget to post the link. So as usual I will get you started with a tidbit and then you will have to go there to read the rest of the story.

By now, many of us are aware that Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter, is pregnant. You probably have listened to the media pundits trying to spin this in several different directions.

Some are gleefully rubbing their hands together, expressing overwhelming euphoria. Senator Obama issued a statement saying, “I think people’s families are off-limits, and 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 governor or her potential performance as a vice president.” He specifically denied that his campaign had anything to do with the information becoming public.

Most of the debate on Bristol’s pregnancy deals with whether or not her mother Sarah is responsible, because of her public insistence that abstinence education is what we need to be teaching our children. Some see this as proof that preaching abstinence to our children is a failure, as clearly this approach did not stop the Alaskan governor’s daughter from deciding on her own to engage in sex. Others feel that Sarah Palin is not responsible, because a parent can only control a child’s behaviour to a certain degree. Some claim that the whole debate is irrelevant because it is a family matter. Here you have three opinions on one pregnancy.

It astounds me that people believe that they have the right to even enter into discussion on what another does with their body. It seems that in our post-feminist world, women’s reproduction is still something that is open for social discipline. I find it interesting that no one considered for a moment, that pregnancy could have been an active choice for this young woman. Immediately we assume that birth control failed, that she lacked morals, or that her closed-minded harpy of a mother did not engage in conversations with her regarding sex and sexuality. We claim to acknowledge the autonomy of women and yet motherhood as a conscious decision never once entered the debate.

Read the rest of this post here.


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