When the news broke last month that Senator John McCain selected Alaskan governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, controversy erupted when the media quickly found out Palin’s teenage daughter, Bristol, was pregnant. Some Americans wondered why this was even a controversy and some were complaining the news media was showing a liberal bias. Could the real story behind the controversy be that Palin backed abstinence-only education when she ran for governor in 2006?
The topic of abstinence-only education is controversial because it is letting outside professionals teach children outside their own home about safe sex. Many conservative parents feel this is their own responsibility to talk to their children about this issue. Conservative parents fail to realize that many parents do not want to talk about sexual promiscuity with their own child. Many moralists inside the Republican Party believe that if teenagers don’t learn about contraception, they will not become sexually active. In this train of thought, we are assuming we can change human behavior. One reason Marxism failed was because it is not possible to change human behavior. Could this be another form of Marxism? The Republicans pride themselves on being the anti-communists led by Ronald Reagan, but did they fail to read the part that Karl Marx believed you could change human nature?
A fact many conservatives don’t know is when their children reach 14, more than one-third of them are participating in sexual activity, according to research done by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With this fact, we commonly see teenage pregnancies at high schools across the country. When teenage pregnancy comes, that teenager is more likely to end up in poverty, and the risks of many socioeconomic effects increase as well. When many teenagers lack the knowledge or access to contraception, we could avoid such a scenario.
Conservatives should come to the conclusion that the best way to handle the problem is to teach young adults about contraception, the one way to get abortions down and to help protect against sexually-transmitted diseases. Sarah Palin’s just-say-no belief system has failed in her home, but now she wants to be second in command of the free world?
Abstinence education failed to work in Palin’s own home, she could be one heartbeat away from the presidency and now wants to force her own morals onto 300 million people. The conservative mantra of “just say no” is not a policy and has failed, as witnessed by Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. As stated before, you can’t change human sexual promiscuity, and having abstinence-only education will just make teenage pregnancy more prominent. If the conservative movement embraces realism over behavior modification, this country would be better off.
Greg Snow is a junior political science major from Fort Worth.