Bristol Palin’s Wisdom: Better Than Science?

I have scars older than Bristol Palin. I have a pair of shoes, several garden tools, and a hundred cassette tapes older than Bristol Palin. You get my point.

You’ll recall that the Palin Kid created a brief moment of bizarre theatre 6 months ago when she turned up pregnant, 17, and unmarried. Her mom pretended this was completely irrelevant during a presidential election campaign she was attempting to re-shape as a referendum on the sexual culture wars. The would-be Vice-Mom topped Larry Craig and Elliot Spitzer as a world-class hypocrite, condemning all those sluts who have sex before marriage, scorning all those men who exploit and impregnate women. Her little girl and her stud, of course, were exempt from this narrative.

For Sarah Palin, throwing a billion dollars down the abstinence toilet still seemed a smart investment. Still does, she says.

The Palin Kid recently started her 16th minute of fame with an interview on Fox TV saying, of all things, that her mother’s Neanderthal view of sex and abstinence is “not realistic at all.” The popular media are eating it up: through this wise child who isn’t old enough to drink legally, and who apparently doesn’t know a condom from a pineapple, People, USA Today, CNN and others have discovered that abstinence training does not work. After all, here’s a white, middle-class teen who was trained to avoid sex—and she didn’t!

For years, scientists across America have been saying the exact same thing—not as some charming tale of a lovable kid who creates a lovable kid, but with crystal-clear numbers, logic, predictions, and proof. The data is overwhelming: abstinence programs succeed in getting kids to promise abstinence, but they fail in getting kids to actually abstain. They’re theatre. They’re religion masquerading as education.

By and large, the media have yawned. By and large, the advocates for this failed public policy have said the numbers don’t matter. Science doesn’t matter. Feeling and belief matter. It’s how our country was run for 8 years: feeling and belief (also known as superstition) mattered more than anything, certainly more than science.

The media have colluded with this repulsive development. There should be a headline every single day: “Abstinence training STILL ineffective.”

Instead, we’re told that if you want the real “facts” about teen sexuality, teen pregnancy, and sex education, forget the experts. Forget the Guttmacher Institute, forget SIECUS, forget Doug Kirby. Don’t bother with science.

Instead, just ask this kid, whose mother still believes that other people’s babies come from immorality.

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