NYC Teens Chide Unwed Teen Mother Palin's Abstinence Call (YA THINK??!!)

TV Arts

NYC Teens Chide Palin's Abstinence Call
Students Say Bristol Palin is 'Hypocrite,' a 'Celebrity' and 'Hasn't
Been in Our Shoes'

May 7, 2009

New York City students who heard Bristol Palin's warnings against teen
pregnancy say they might consider abstinence, but they wouldn't take
advice on it from the young unwed mother.

Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, recently
was selected as an ambassador to The Candie's Foundation to help
create awareness about the pitfalls of teen pregnancy.

On Wednesday, she carried her message to about 150 teens at a town
meeting forum at The Times Center that included bimbo  "Heroes"
actress Hayden Panettiere (who keeps the "casting couch" analogy alive
and well) and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza, who was a teen

"It's a big flop," said Jerry Kowal, a senior at Solomon Schecter High
School in Hartsdale, N.Y., referring to Palin's campaign to get teens
to abstain from sex.

"I don't think it's her real opinion," the 17-year-old told "She's just trying to help her mother. She said it
herself that abstinence education doesn't work. I looked it up."

In a February interview with Fox News' Greta Susteren, Palin talked
about how much her life had changed since the birth of then-two month
old Trigg and how teenage abstinence was "unrealistic."

Palin Says Remarks 'Out of Context':

Palin, who gave birth last December, has said earlier remarks were
"taken out of context."

Her pregnancy came on the heels of her mother Sarah Palin's bid for
the Republican vice-presidential spot. Now, the teen mother's own son
is only months away in age from her youngest brother Trigg, whom she
cradled in front of television audiences on the campaign trail.

After the spotlight of the presidential campaign, Tripp's father, Levi
Johnson, broke off his engagement to Palin.

In an interview Wednesday with ABC News' "Good Morning America," Palin
said, "I'm relatable. And I'm a teen myself. Regardless of what I did
personally, I just think that abstinence is the only way that you can
effectively, 100 percent, foolproof way to prevent pregnancy."

But some in her teenage audience disagreed.

"I don't get it," said Raina Brot, 15, from the Beacon School in
Manhattan. "She's being kind of a hypocrite."

The Candie's Foundation's mission to educate teenagers about the
consequences of teen pregnancy was evident in the posters that draped
the stage. They read, "You think your parents gave you a lot of crap?"
or, "You think being in school stinks?" One with a photo of a baby
crib read, "Not really what you pictured your first crib, huh?"

Teen Births on Rise:

A report published in January by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) indicates that teen birth rates are rising in 26
states, ending a 15-year decline.

The highest increases are in four states, including Palin's home,
Alaska, as well as Mississippi, Montana, Hawaii and Nevada.
Regionally, the Northeast has the lowest and the Southwest has the
highest rates.

According The Candie's Foundation, the United States has the highest
rate of teen pregnancies in the industrialized world. Each year, some
750,000 American teens get pregnant, and, like Palin, 8 out of 10 do
not marry the father.

Palin told students that although she was "blessed" by having a large
family to help her, the baby thwarted her plans to go to college
outside of Alaska and put her "life on the fast track."

"You have so much responsibility and hard work," she told the teens.
"It's a 24-hour-a-day job. You don't have friends and you can't just
go out to the movies or go get your hair done. It's baby first."
Page 3:

Palin: 'Think First':

One bright spot in the study revealed that 70 percent of teens
surveyed said they might hesitate on having sex "if they had plans for
the future."

"Feeding your dreams gives you something to plan," Shoket said.

Palin agreed.

"I wasn't thinking about the future," she said. "Think before you

"I don't believe in abstinence, but I think Bristol Palin could have
some influence," said Delwara Begum, a 16-year-old from Beacon High
School in Manhattan. "I don't believe it's realistic, but she is
speaking out and giving some kind of caution."

Still, her classmate disagreed.

"When you say, 'Don't have sex,' teens will rebel," Ajanay Squire, 16,

Many studies have shown that abstinence-only programs, like those
funded by the federal government, are ineffective, according to David
Landry, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, which
advances sexual and reproductive health worldwide.

"Good comprehensive sex education does an excellent job in promoting
abstinence," he told "It is the most effective way of
avoiding pregnancy.

"But the problem with abstinence alone, it's terribly ineffective and
young people like Bristol Palin do not adhere to it. And when they
don't have the proper information and when they are sexually active,
they often have unprotected sex."

Palin Propelled by 'Circumstances':

"I just feel for [Bristol Palin]," said Landry. "She seems to be
caught in the middle of a political firestorm, and I'm not sure how
much of it is by her own free well. Circumstances propelled her."

Some teens wondered if a high-profile teen like Palin could understand
their own situation.

"It's about peer pressure," said Joy Ocean, 16, from Brooklyn's John
Dewey High School. "It's a little overwhelming, and she hasn't been in
our shoes."

"I saw [Bristol Palin] on TV and how hard it was on her with her
mother in the spotlight," said Mignonette Brathwaite, Ocean's 15-year-
old classmate. "She knows her mother is worried about her political
campaign. She wouldn't want her to mess up her image."

Their classmate, Rose Acevado, 16, knows the pain of a teen pregnancy.
Her sister suffered a miscarriage after hiding a pregnancy for nine
months. Today, her sister is pregnant again.

"This is a good thing," she said of the message of abstinence, but not
from Bristol Palin. "We'd take it from someone true and honest, not a