Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bristol Palin and Teen Marriage/Pregnancy/Sex

There's just something about almost every photo of Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin I see that makes me easily imagine how unhappily married they might be in twenty years. Obviously there was an unplanned pregnancy, but I don't think ANY 17 and 19 year-olds should be getting married (as it is rumored they are going to do this summer), whether they have a baby together and are conservative Christians or not. And I'm saying this as someone who did get married at a young age (I was17!!!!) and in retrospect thinks it was a mistake. In this day and age of "finding yourself" I don't really think many people are fit to get married at 25, let alone before they are of legal drinking age. My marriage wasn't because of a pregnancy and I don't regret having done it in the sense that I learned a lot and it made me who I am today. But it ended in divorce (for various reasons) and as an adult I think I was pretty naive to be making such a major decision at such a young age.

I wish I could remember where I read it, but I know I was reading something within the past few weeks that quoted some figures on teens who had taken some sort of vows of chastity until marriage (normally due to religious beliefs) and those who hadn't. Again, I don't remember the details, but the gist of the article was that Bush's goals of pouring money into abstinence-only education wasn't working out. Kids were still having sex. Those who took vows of abstinence were more likely to indulge in oral or anal sex since those activities were often viewed as ways to still save their virginity. And their understanding of condoms had been so distorted by the fact that they don't necessarily protect against some STDs like herpes, that they were less likely to use them, even though they are still effective against fluid-based STDs.

The one article I CAN remember where I read was in Newsweek. The article's title is The Abortion Wars Get Technical, but I think the subtitle really sums it up: "Women have few rights at all when doctors can legally misinform them or deny service entirely."

UPDATE: Guess what I found when I was reading the Seattle Times this morning? An article titled "Abstinence-only sex education has totally failed the nations teens."

UPDATE #2: I also just found this New Yorker article about "why so many evangelical teenagers get pregnant."

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