Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Knocked Up: The Hypocrisy of Sarah Palin and James Dobson

In a way, I feel sorry for Bristol Palin. She has the misfortune of having a mother whose idea of sex education is forcing her daughter into dating and having sex behind her back, to maintain the illusion of a Jesus-friendly family unit. She also has the misfortune of being pregnant and soon to be married at 17. Worse, getting an abortion with her family is not an option, even though it is supposed to be a legal right in this country.

On the other hand, her family, especially what passes for her parents, deserve nothing but the worst. Maybe Barack Obama feels as though Gov. Palin's family is "off limits," but I do not. After all, people like Palin and her Evangelical backers see nothing wrong with judging us, getting involved in our lives, or putting a bureaucrat in our bedrooms. This is the same Sarah Palin who thinks marriage for a pregnant teenage girl is the only way to keep family honor, but if a 20-something, otherwise responsible and loving gay or lesbian couple want to tie the knot, well, marriage is just too sacred for them.

And why is it that fetus worshipers like Dr. Dobson will have no problem judging Bill Clinton for his extramarital hijinks, but says nothing about McCain's and defends Palin by saying "we're all human"? Does anyone honestly think Dobson would be saying the same thing if this happened to one of Obama's kids? Odd how these Evangelicals start sounding like someone at a tolerance camp when either they or their supposedly beautifully raised children start acting out all of the behavior that we are told will earn us a trip to hell. I guess Christianity only matters to people like Palin or Dobson when it is someone else's kids.

And by the way, where is the media in noting this hypocrisy? Oh, well. I guess Sarah better keep a close eye on the rest of her brood. If John McCain has it his way, they will never learn anything about sex until it is too late, either.

McCain fought money on teen pregnancy programs

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer 11 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Republican John McCain, whose running mate disclosed that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, has opposed proposals to spend federal money on teen-pregnancy prevention programs and voted to require poor teen mothers to stay in school or lose their benefits.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's announcement Monday about her daughter Bristol was aimed at rebutting Internet rumors that Palin's youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter's. Palin said her daughter intends to raise her child and marry the baby's father, identified in news reports as Levi Johnston, 18, of Wasilla, a high school hockey player whom Bristol has dated for about one year. The baby is due in late December.

McCain's record on issues surrounding teen pregnancy and contraceptives during his more than two decades in the Senate indicates that he and Palin have similar views. Until Monday, when the subject surfaced in a deeply personal manner, teen pregnancy and sex education were not issues in the national political campaign.

Palin herself said she opposes funding sexual-education programs in Alaska.

"The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support," she wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates.

McCain's position on contraceptives and teen pregnancy issues has been difficult to judge on the campaign trail, as he appears uncomfortable discussing such topics. Reporters asked the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in November 2007 whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, whether such programs should include directions for using contraceptives and whether he supports President Bush's policy of promoting abstinence.

"Ahhh, I think I support the president's policy," McCain said.

When reporters pressed McCain whether the government should provide contraceptives or counseling on contraceptives, he replied, "You've stumped me." McCain said later that he was sure he opposed government spending on contraceptives.

The McCain campaign on Monday did not respond to repeated requests for information.

In Senate votes, McCain has opposed some proposals to pay for teen-pregnancy prevention programs. In 2006, McCain joined fellow Republicans in voting against a Senate Democratic proposal to send $100 million to communities for teen-pregnancy prevention programs that would have included sex education about contraceptives.

In 2005, McCain opposed a Senate Democratic proposal that would have spent tens of millions of dollars to pay for pregnancy prevention programs other than abstinence-only education, including education on emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill. The bill also would have required insurance companies that cover Viagra to also pay for prescription contraception.

McCain voted for the Family Support Act in 1988, which passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and required teen mothers who receive public assistance to remain in high school and, in some cases, to live with their parents.

"Young parents who have not completed high school will be required to stay in or return to school to complete the basic education so necessary to a productive life," said President Reagan, as he signed the law in October 1988.

McCain cited abortion, sex education and birth control as some of the issues on which he differed with Joycelyn Elders, former President Clinton's nominee for surgeon general. He quoted Elders as telling lawmakers that abortion has had positive health effects, including reducing the number of children "afflicted with severe defects."

"As a father of a number of young children, including an adopted daughter who was born with a birth defect, I am deeply, deeply troubled by these views," McCain said in a 1993 speech opposing Elders' confirmation.

Palin's fifth child, a son named Trig, was born in April with Down syndrome, a genetic abnormality that impedes physical, intellectual and language development. Conservatives supportive of Palin as McCain's running mate have praised her choice to deliver Trig even after the family learned about his condition during prenatal testing.

McCain said the country unarguably had a problem with teen pregnancy, but said Elders' approach would only make it worse. He said Elders started a program to distribute condoms in schools, but the rate of teen pregnancy actually rose in those counties. When it turned out many of the condoms were defective, Elders decided to continue the program rather than halt it or inform the public of the risk, McCain added.

Associated Press Writer Steve Quinn contributed to this story from Anchorage, Alaska.


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