Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sarah Palin is not a bad parent...

because her teenage daughter is pregnant. Say what you will. Does that mean the thousands of teenagers with unplanned pregnancies have bad parents? You can be a great parent, but you are not with your child 24/7. Sometimes you just have to hope for the best. People make mistakes, you know.

That's not to say there aren't other reasons she may be accused of bad parenting. Using her children and their circumstances for political gain. Allowing, probably pushing her daughter to marry at 17. There are a host of reasons, although if Sarah Palin was a man we wouldn't be half as harsh, admittedly.

Accepting the VP nomination already knowing her daughter was pregnant is suspicious. She knew all the scrutiny her child would have to endure. I don't think she knew. If she did know, and it's all done in the name of electoral votes, ugh. Or because it's God's will and they are strong enough to stand it and teach everyone else a lesson and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, again, ugh.

It's all fishy, and my inner conspiracy theorist doesn't think the younger Palin is five months pregnant. And that nine hour flight just doesn't seem legit. Something's afoot.

Many unwed teenagers get pregnant every year. It's actually not the end of the world. Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans. Sure, I say this from a very comfortable perspective, a 25 year old Mexican middle class viewpoint where families pitch in not just with money but with their love and their time. And it didn't happen to me. But the things is, life, happiness and success come in many forms.

I once knew a woman who had married very young, and had children almost right away. She told me that almost no one will ever confess to regretting that kind of choice since it would mean you regret your kids, and our society places a high value on offspring and advancing the family name.

However, she said, she could tell me as a single person in her twenties, that given then chance she wouldn't do it again since she missed out on a lot of things. I thought, wow, here's someone who's brutally honest. But does did it make her any happier? Was this regret actually a refusal or inhability to adapt?

This post, as usual, started being about one thing and meandered over to a whole other territory. My apologies, dear reader.

I am pro choice, because I believe it is a woman's right to choose. While I deplore the act of abortion itself, I know it isn't a decision anyone comes to easily. I have not walked in their shoes. I did not raise them, nor am I raising their child. I would rather they had received sexual education, I would rather they would try to find other solutions. But I cannot deny them their right to choose. As they shouldn't deny me my choices.

One of my main arguments against people who want to keep abortion illegal is that they're not solving anything with denying women access to healthcare. The rich get their abortions in San Antonio or Houston, the middle class goes to clandestine (professional looking though, but no guarantees) clinics in the city, and the poor resort to herbs, dubious pills and coat hangers. A lot of anti choice people I know are all about not murdering an unborn child, but they're not very interested in discussing what happens once the kid is born.

But maybe we should restate the problem in order to find a solution. Somehow teenage pregnancy rates remain on the rise, if we trust statistics. I'm not so sure it's not just a case of selective attention, or the fact that we have better data now. In ancient history, about fifty years ago, young people were expected to keep it in their pants. Yet teenage pregnancy still happened. It was all hush hush then, so maybe social stigma did work to keep the rates down, but not completely.

If we worked on getting everyone on contraception, we could work on getting us to respect our bodies and ourselves and getting rid of our hang ups about sex, and other higher and nobler purposes. But it's kinda hard to do that when all this procreation and all the emotional upheaval in entails keeps distorting the issue.

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