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February 19, 2009

Weekly Pulse: Bristol Palin calls abstinence "unrealistic"

In this Weekly Pulse, we discuss the strange contradictions of the social conservatives.

Why do they hail Sarah Palin as hero for choosing to give birth to a child with Down's Syndrome and excoriate Nadya Suleman for having octuplets that might have health problems?

Why are anti-choicers prepared to forgive Bristol Palin for her "sins" and congratulate her for Choosing Life, but not Nadya Suleman? For a movement that specializes in ministering to single women pregnant with babies they can't afford, that seems like a major inconsistency.

Suleman ended up with one planned pregnancy and seven unplanned pregnancies when all her IVF embryos unexpectedly implanted. She said she felt obliged to implant her leftover embryos because they were all little people who deserved a chance. Now that sounds crazy and self-serving, but it is the pro-life party line.

Yet, Suleman was denied the mantle of pro-life martyr she was angling for. Somewhat unfairly, in my opinion. She totally walked the walk....

If we're going to blame Nadya Suleman for having kids who will end up on welfare, what do we say about so-called crisis pregnancy centers that exist solely to browbeat their poor and single clients into having babies?

I'm hearing a lot of calls to regulate IVF in the wake of the Suleman affair. Dumb idea. Of all the factors that lead to women having children they can't afford, $10,000 IVF treatments are at the very bottom of the list.

Why not crack down on deceptive crisis pregnancy centers instead? They're veritable factories for "welfare mothers"--those scary people social conservatives tell us we're supposed to hate and fear and blame for all our problems.

Don't assume that those CPC babies are getting adopted out, either. By and large, women who carry to term do so because they intend to keep their babies. Peggy Hartshorn, a leading anti-abortion crusader confirmed this to me in a phone interview about 2 years ago: In the post-Roe era, most women who endure unplanned pregnancies do so because they want to keep their babies. The statistics bear her out.

Now, personally, I do believe in choice, and I know that freedom isn't free. We should expand the social safety net for women and families. Childrearing is important and the last thing we should be doing is shaming parents who seek help to provide for their children.

I'm so sick of hearing disgruntled conservatives railing against "welfare mothers." If they really value motherhood and childbearing as much as they say, they'll happily pay for social services to help needy families and give every child the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Of course, the very same politicians and pundits who score political points off "welfare mothers" had a field day ranting about birth control in the stimulus--a proposal that would have saved $200 million in healthcare costs alone over the next five years by making it easier for states to cover birth control for the same poor women are currently eligible for pregnancy care under Medicaid. That estimate didn't even consider the potential welfare or foster care savings of bringing fewer unwanted children into the world. Since the federal government already matches state Medicaid contraception spending 9-1, the provision would have been a net stimulus for participating states. 

Even more bizarre: Suleman is Public Enemy Number One for straining the social safety net, but she's also persona non grata for persuing the only occupation that might enable her to support her family, namely, professional Octomom. Amazingly, self-righteous consumers are threatening to boycott companies that offer her stuff for free! Conservative blowhard Andy Martin decries the burden that Suleman is putting on the state of California and then urges his readers to boycott media outlets that pay for her story. 

The illogic, it burns.


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They keep using that word "choice", but then they talk about making it into a situation where no one is allowed to choose.

You know what else is "unrealistic"?

Sarah Palin's 2012 run for president.

Yeah, I loved the spectacle of the Republican congressional brain trust wailing and bellowing about the birth control item in the stimulus bill. They honestly believe that one more abortion will send God over the edge, he'll go postal, incinerate the liberal baby-killers, America, and everything else within a billion light years range, yet they won't pay for birth control to prevent abortions. Oh wait, I forgot, God hates recreational fucking even more than he hates abortion.

Bristol Palin needs to speak for herself. Simply because she does not have the self-discipline, self-control, and fortitude to practice abstinence (if she was ever really trying to practice it, at all) does not mean that abstinence is absolutely unrealistic. It just means that abstinence is unrealistic FOR HER. I have 2 nieces who are successfully practicing abstinence and there are millions of people who successfully practice abstinence, everyday. It's not easy to do and it's certainly not common in this day and age, but it is also not unrealistic.

Absolutely, corymac. Obviously it's realistic for some people. Heck I'm a 30 year old virgin, I should know. What isn't realistic is teaching that it should be the only method of birth control for all teens in America.

It's not "illogical" at all. She's not white enough and not rich enough to fit into the demographic they want to force to have more babies. If she weren't a single mother with a funny name, they'd be smothering her with plaudits, but they don't want to go on record as encouraging those people to have lots of kids, especially since a lot of the professional forced-birth contingent are also the same ones who tacitly or explicitly support bribing poor (and primarily nonwhite) women into being sterilised.

Also, whoever implanted eight embryos into a healthy 33 year old woman with a prior history of fertility really ought to be delicensed and blacklisted for gross ethical violations. And then possibly shot for good measure.

Let's not even get into that Suleman's likely also mentally ill with a fixation on babies in the same way that "animal collectors" are about their critters of choice and should never have been accepted into a fertility clinic on those grounds alone.

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