Thursday, May 7, 2009

Good Morning America goes back to the 1950s

Yesterday was the National Day To Prevent Teen Pregnancy, so the issue got some coverage including Bristol Palin on Good Morning America.

The GMA segment on the subject reminds me of something from the 1950s or 60s where contraception and sex were only hinted at and discussed in veiled terms that only adults could understand.

Bristol Palin's last statement on abstinence a few months ago was incoherent and stumbling but included a statement that "abstinence is not realistic." That interview didn't seem to mention birth control either.

This time she has her talking points down and she gives a well-articulated message. "Abstinence is a hard choice, but it's the safest choice and the best choice." The interviewer asks what's the second line of that since teens might "roll their eyes" at abstinence (is that what they're calling it nowadays?) and her line is, "It's the safest choice, and it's something that kids should know about."

That is, the best choice is abstinence. And the second best choice is also abstinence. And the third best choice. And the fourth choice. Is that really what she means to be saying?

They also had a guy from an anti-teen pregnancy foundation started by a teenage shoe company who summed up the foundation's motto as "Just because you're wearing high-heeled sexy shoes, obviously you shouldn't have a baby."

The only discussion about birth control is impossibly muddled:

Host: "Do you think it has to be black and white, abstain versus protection, or do you think there is going to be some middle ground?"
Palin: "Yes I think definitely some middle ground."
Foundation guy: "Abstinence is obviously the best way, but being realistic you gotta talk to teenagers and say anyway, whether it be protection ... having a baby... a kid having a kid is just not right. Any way you can get through, we have to educate."

What exactly is this middle ground between abstinence and protection? Presumably they don't mean as in this joke site dedicated to "abstinence" from acts that can get women pregnant. It's a shockingly bizarre statement.

There is no getting around it: Teaching birth control is the middle ground.

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