Bristol Palin, teen mom and paid poster child for abstinence (yes, the irony is blinding) is very disturbed by a Seattle high school that is offering free birth control to their students. Because as we all learned from her life, it’s best not to talk about birth control or take birth control. You should just keep having sex, bury your head in the sand, and hope for the best.
Conservative news sites have been having a collective stroke over reports that a Washington state high school has been dispensing birth control to teens — free of charge and without parental notification. The most controversial part of the program is that the school is also administering long-term birth control, like IUD’s. A report obtained by the conservative news site Judicial Watch allegedly shows the breakdown of numbers and ages of girls who received the birth control implants. There are a few preteens on the list, which was the match that sparked freak out fire that Palin is currently pouring gasoline over.
In a recent blog post, Palin quickly glommed on to the allegations that a handful of girls between the ages of 10 and 12 had received some of the free birth control. The report obtained by Judicial Watch showed a total of 7973 “clients” who received birth control. Of those clients, a grand total of 24 of them were between 10 and 12 years old: two 10-year-olds, four 11-year-olds, and 18 12-year-olds. That accounts for .03% of the total girls who received birth control. A whopping 55% of those who received the free birth control were between the ages of 18 and 20. The rest were between 13 and 17-years-old, with the highest percentage in that group being the 17-year-olds. The report itself is questionable — how many 10-year-olds do you know in high school?
But why pay attention to details when we can freak out about two girls out of 7973 who any parent would agree are way too young to be having sex? I hate the idea of teenagers having sex too, but I live in reality where blindly pretending that they won’t doesn’t fly. Palin says about the program:
“Do you remember what it was like to be a 10 year old? I remember being an unabashed tomboy concerned with playing outside and acing 5th grade.
But life isn’t so innocent and carefree for some 10 years old in Washington State. This summer a report came out claiming that some schools in Washington were giving free birth control implants to children as young as 10 years old!”
Yes, let’s glom on to the smallest percentage affected, and spread hysteria about it. When in actuality, programs like this one are hugely successful in preventing teen pregnancy.
There are plenty of parents who don’t like the idea of birth control obtained without parental consent, but it turns out that using contraception is a great way to avoid unintended pregnancy. And as we know, teenagers aren’t always honest about their sex lives. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) as the most effective method of birth control for high-school aged girls. They’re easy to maintain and require little-to-no effort on the part of the teens. Because of this recommendation, Seattle’s public health department quickly decided that they should be available in school-based clinics.
No matter how uncomfortable we are with the idea of free birth control for teens – the fact remains that when you give teens free birth control, pregnancy and abortion rates plummet. A 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that “giving teens access to education about contraception and to free birth control can cause their pregnancy rates to plunge — and, as a result, can reduce teen abortion rates by up to 78 percent.” You’d think Palin would be behind something like that.
Pulling the wool over our eyes and pretending our kids aren’t having sex doesn’t work. It certainly didn’t work for Sarah Palin when dealing with her own daughter. Bristol was a teen mom, but like many conservative activists before and after her, her life gets to be a case of “do as I say, not as I do.” And why? Why are we repeatedly putting up with people spreading propaganda and misinformation when their own lives are a testament to how unreasonable it is?
Stop chiding people for attempting to educate teens and lower the risk of teen pregnancies, Bristol. Spreading hysteria about organizations who are actually trying to do something tangible to help reduce the teen pregnancy rate is an interesting choice, considering your life experience. I guess we should just be telling teens to stop having sex instead of arming them with information and birth control. Because that tactic was clearly effective for you.