Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sara Palin's Hypocrisy on Teen Pregnancy

On September 1, 2008, James C. Dobson, the founder and chief demagogue of (Out of) Focus on the Family issued the following statement:

"In the 32-year history of Focus on the Family, we have offered prayer, counseling and resource assistance to tens of thousands of parents and children in the same situation the Palins are now facing. We have always encouraged the parents to love and support their children and always advised the girls to see their pregnancies through, even though there will of course be challenges along the way.

That is what the Palins are doing, and they should be commended once again for not just talking about their pro-life and pro-family values, but living them out even in the midst of trying circumstances."Being a Christian does not mean you're perfect. Nor does it mean your children are perfect. But it does mean there is forgiveness and restoration when we confess our imperfections to the Lord. I've been the beneficiary of that forgiveness and restoration in my own life countless times, as I'm sure the Palins have.

"The media are already trying to spin this as evidence Gov. Palin is a 'hypocrite,' but all it really means is that she and her family are human. They are in my prayers and those of millions of Americans."

Well, while I will discount the last paragraph (Sarah Palin is a hypocrite, if one looks at what she says and what she does when she slashes funding for caring for pregnant teens in her state, that isn't what Dobson is dealing with), I largely agree with the so called "Doctor" Dobson here, at least when it comes to his reaching out to comfort people who fit into his narrow view of "pro-life, pro-family." He and his organization don't really care about anyone whose life or family doesn't meet his narrow and bigoted view of whose life is important and what makes a family. But if we limit ourselves to the sort of people who fit his constituency, I can't disagree with him.

His organization’s counseling doesn’t allow for any reproductive chopice other than going forward with the pregnancy. On the other hand, in the Palin situation, I am sure (or at least hopeful) that Bristol Palin should allowed to make her own reproductive choice, including having her baby. As to marrying the young man who got her pregnant, that should be their mutual choice. (I’ve seen reports that he may not be as willing to be getting married as she is, but that’s personal and private, and between them.)

But what’s the real issue – it isn’t Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, it’s teen pregnancy and teen unwed mothers and the role of education and government that are legitimate issues in the campaign.

Sarah Palin's "social conservatism" and her strange superstitious "religion" help make her a strong opponent of women’s reproductive rights except for the obligation to have a baby if one gets pregnant, whether by plan, by accident, or out of ignorance.

Sarah Palin opposes sex education in the schools. She recently line-item vetoed help for pregnant teens in trouble with nowhere else to turn. Don't believe it? See the Washington Post coverage: Palin Slashed Funding for Teen Moms By Paul Kane

ST. PAUL -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed.

Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.

According to Passage House's web site, its purpose is to provide "young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives" and help teen moms "become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families."

Apparently Governor Palin only believes in the oppressive side of the "right to life." While Sarah Palin may be supportive of her own daughter, not all teen girls who are pregnant and actually choose to have their babies have family support, or support from private sources.

Governor Palin may think it’s a good idea to cut the state budget to save taxpayers money – but relying on private charity does not make for a level playing field. Relying on religious charities, especially with the Bush version of "faith-based initiative," gives us an ugly hybrid – using goverment taxpayer funds to support discriminatory practices by religious bigots.

Seeing Sarah Palin speak during C-Span’s coverage of the Republican convention, and seeing her family, could have given me some "feel-good" feelings if it weren’t for her opposition to things that I hold near and dear, like the fact that I should have the same rights as everyone else. After all, she’s not entirely bad, is she?

If (Out of) Focus on the Family wasn’t rabidly anti-gay and anti-trans, I’d feel better about the positive things they do for people who fit their constiruency. For now, it’s enough for me to acknowledge that even the most evil Christianist demagogues aren’t all bad. James Dobson and Sarah Palin might be members of the lunatic fringe on the issue of marriage rights and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, but I have to acknowledge that they’re not 100% pure evil on every issue.

After all, according to a recent controversial movie on the subject, even Adolph Hitler apparently liked small animals and children.

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