An Open Letter To Bristol Palin On Her Misconceptions On Unwed Pregnancy
Oh, Bristol. Bristol, Bristol, Bristol. I do not know what to make of you.
And I’m not talking about your recently announced, second pregnancy. Which like your first pregnancy is out of wedlock, but unlike your first pregnancy is not with former fiancee Levi Johnston (I do know that I will never forgive you for the fact that I knew his name and remembered it was “Johnston” and not “Johnson.” I can’t remember my best friend’s birthday, but that shit I know). No, I mean I don’t know what to make of your announcement itself.
See, when you first came into the national consciousness, it unfortunately was as an unmarried, pregnant 17-year- old having to work through your unplanned pregnancy with all of us watching because of your mother’s political aspirations. And that sucks. A lot. So we couldn’t really expect you to have had the insight that might help change the conversation about teen and out-of-wedlock births. It’s a conversation that needs to be changed because as it turns out there are a shitton of out of wedlock births. But you were young and probably scared, and so you mostly toed the company line: abstinence is always best, and because kids deserve a mother and father we can’t let gay people get married.
But now that you’re a little bit older and are in the middle of your second pregnancy, maybe it’s time we did start changing the conversation around kids born in single parent homes. Starting with the big question: is it really bad for kids to be born in single parent homes? We’ve have decades of programs teaching people that having kids outside of marriage is terrible, will ruin your children and is essentially the breakdown of society. But the science? Well, it doesn’t have a really clear answer. It’s looking more and more like the keys to raising successful children include waiting to have children until you’re emotionally and financially ready for them, and being an engaged and present parent. So kids who are wanted tend to do the best. Meaning that Brad and Angie’s kids will do well regardless of the state of their parent’s legal union. I know, shocking.
Which brings me back to your actual announcement. And two specific things that I just don’t understand:
“At the end of the day there’s nothing I can’t do with God by my side, and I know I am fully capable of handling anything that is put in front of me with dignity and grace.”
Maybe referring to your soon-to-be birthed child as something “that is put in front of [you]” isn’t the best idea. Not just because said child might read this one day, but also because it takes your active participation out the equation entirely. As seen in the exquisitely acted, zeitgeist-iest PSA above, you know about birth control. Yes, all birth control forms do have some measure of failure, but I’m having a hard time believing that that’s the case here. More likely, your previous declarations of remaining abstinent until marriage made you feel like having a form of birth control would be an admission that abstinence doesn’t always work. Given how well that turned out for your this time, maybe just take the goddamn condom from now on. And from now on, quit pushing the bullshit idea that sex before marriage is terrible. Safe, mutually consensual sex is fine. Which leads me to the second issue:
“But please respect Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.”
You know you’re not really going to get any lectures on this, right? Or I should say, you won’t get any lectures on having a baby before you’re married. Your hypocritical, bullshit positions on judging other people’s families while asking that people respect the privacy of your own? Yeah, you’re going to get some shit for that. Making up statistics to argue against women having the right to make decisions about their bodies just like you did? Yep, that’ll get you some criticism too. But the people who would give you lectures about your pregnancy itself, the ones who your mom just got done working with, the ones that as Dan Savage points out would have a fucking field day if this were the Obamas? Again shocking, but crickets from them.
And the liberals? The ones you’ve accused of being hypocrites? And have implied are ruining America through their abortions and gay marriage and general heathenness? We’re not going to criticize you for being unmarried and pregnant. You’ve shown us too many actual flaws to work with.
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