Parenting

Saving Bristol Palin, Part II

While I don’t really want to drag this issue out too much longer, I wanted to post some more thoughts about Elyse’s excellent post yesterday, especially because of the string of comments that post inspired. The following is part of an exchange we Skepchicks had before the post, and I wanted to share it with the rest of the an exchange we Skepchicks had before the post, and I wanted to share it with the rest of the crowd.

In a nutshell, I think it’s entirely possible, even likely, that Bristol’s family pushed their ideology on her and forced her “choice.” But no one who isn’t involved can say that for sure. And I don’t see how a strange man forcing (or bribing) the opposite choice for an opposite ideology makes the landscape better for supporting women to make their own informed choices about their lives, bodies, and families.

Here’s where I’m coming from: my own pregnancy was unplanned, and I considered both abortion and adoption. I was still in college, I don’t come from a great family situation in the first place, and my daughter’s father was not supportive at the time. I didn’t have anywhere near the financial and familial support Bristol has. I chose to keep my baby, and I have worked my ass off ever since keeping us afloat. I still work my ass off, in fact. But my daughter is the best thing that ever happened, or will ever happen, to me, hands down. I can’t even begin to describe the difference she’s made to me. I would have gone through times ten times as hard as I did if it was to have my little girl in my life.

(Can I use this as an excuse to link to adorable pictures of my spawn? Sure I can!)

It’s also worth mentioning I have also had an abortion. I’ve been in both places, and I made two different choices depending on the circumstances I was in.

I don’t think Stanhope is wrong in this case because his “joke” just isn’t funny (even though it isn’t). He’s wrong because he’s publicly implying, if not straight out saying, that judgment should be passed on Bristol for doing what she’s doing. Or if she does something else, that another, more favorable judgment should be given to her. And that’s what I have a problem with.

I’ve been on the other side of judgment. I am an unwed mother, and even though I am now with my daughter’s father, I still choose to remain unmarried. People judge me for that. I have been on public assistance. People judged me for that. I work very hard at my career, because I won’t allow myself to ever be in a position again where I can’t take care of myself and my daughter on my own. People judge me for that. My partner stays at home and takes care of our daughter. People judge us for that. People (including my own family) judged me for keeping my daughter instead of giving her away, or maybe they judge me now for not aborting her. I don’t think that would be fair, considering both my daughter and I are healthy and happy and doing well now. But if someone doesn’t know the whole of my situation (and who really knows it but those closest to me?), they could easily pass an unfair judgment. Even unfair judgments can hurt, and, even if they don’t particularly hurt, they don’t do anything to help women in these kind of circumstances who need help. I don’t let them hurt me, not anymore. But I get really pissed off when those kind of judgments are leveled at others.

Because I went through the experiences I have, I made a promise to myself that I would never judge another woman dealing with these choices. Ever. I am strongly, strongly pro-choice, and the reason is because I believe that no one knows exactly what it’s like to live that situation unless you’re the one living it. I know I didn’t until I lived it. And I believe that only the one who knows exactly what it’s like deserves to make choices about it. I think what this guy is doing is judgmental and disrespectful, and I think it’s not only disrespectful of Bristol, it’s disrespect to every woman who has faced a similar difficult choice and took a different path than the path he thinks should be taken. And since I’m one of those women, I take it a little personally.

I’m not saying that Bristol keeping her baby is the right decision, or that abortion would be the wrong decision. I’m saying it’s not my place, or Doug Stanhope’s place, or Sarah Palin’s place, or anyone else on this planet’s place, to say, even jokingly, and especially in a public forum, either way. To only translate a choice that ends up with the result we want as an actual choice doesn’t even make any logical, much less ethical, sense.

In case this doesn’t seem relevant to this site – well, I think it is. It’s the same thing we talk about when educating people about skepticism. It’s not about telling them what to think, it’s teaching how to think. It’s not about telling any woman what choice to make, it’s about making sure women are able to make choices themselves. When it comes to applying critical thinking, you can’t come to a conclusion using only your own personal anecdotes, or your family’s or friends’. You can use your own knowledge gained from experience as part of your evidence, but that doesn’t follow that because your abortion was the right choice for you, it’s the right choice for everyone, every time – or if your adoption was successful, or not, or if your giving birth at seventeen was successful, or not. We also can’t make assumptions based on our own opinions about what choice actually did take place with Bristol. We can have our opinions, sure. I have mine. But I’m careful to keep that separate from my judgment. Only the one in that individual situation knows all of the facts. And that’s the only one who can and should make the judgment and the choice. Everyone else need to back the fuck off, as far as I’m concerned.

When it comes to Bristol Palin: here’s a young pregnant woman who we’re only seeing as an errant nail sticking up, and everyone is so intent on using his or her own particular hammer to slam her back down, it seems like we’re forgetting that what we’re swinging at is still an individual woman, who deserves as much respect and compassion as any other. That’s what the religious fundamentalists do, folks. We’re supposed to be better than that.

This guy may be well-intentioned when it comes to trying to level the political playing field. I see his point, and, essentially, I agree. I think that donating money to make abortions available to low-income women is a great thing. I’ve done it myself. But he’s doing it in such an offensive and disrespectful way that I think it’s going to do more damage than good. I don’t care if it influences policy – what good is legislation if we’ve forgotten the value of what that legislation is supposed to protect? If it’s a choice between making a pro-choice statement in the media and respecting another pregnant woman as a woman and not a symbol or helpless pawn … I’m siding with Bristol.

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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97 Comments

  1. Jen, that was beautifully put. I really appreciate hearing your and Elyse’s voices on the topic. I especially like this bit:

    When it comes to Bristol Palin: here’s a young pregnant woman who we’re only seeing as an errant nail sticking up, and everyone is so intent on using his or her own particular hammer to slam her back down, it seems like we’re forgetting that what we’re swinging at is still an individual woman, who deserves as much respect and compassion as any other. That’s what the religious fundamentalists do, folks. We’re supposed to be better than that.

    Couldn’t have put it better myself.

  2. Maybe I missed something, but applying critical thinking to what a pregnant 17 year old should do isn’t “judging” or limiting “choice”.

    I have a question, when is it OK to criticize a woman’s decision? Anytime there isn’t a pregnancy involved?

  3. That’s an adorable little Skepchick spawn you have there.

    Wow. Fucking wow. That was just so well put. I admire moms of all kinds, especially those who can speak their minds as well as this.

    I do hope that Bristol is making her own choice and that she has a wonderful, happy child. It is too bad that she’s in the spotlight like this.

  4. Thanks, everyone :)

    @mxracer652: Unless you ARE the 17-year-old in question, saying what she should or should not do is in fact judgment. You can criticize women whenever you like. But if you don’t know or understand the relevant information behind the decision you’re criticizing, then you deserve to have your criticism dismissed. If you want me to take your criticism seriously, it needs better evidence and presentation than, “17-year-olds can’t raise kids right.”

  5. Just to keep everyone updated, here’s a copy of a bulletin recently posted by Stanhope via Myspace. Me and Doug are tight like that.

    “In order to remove any ideas that I would be profiting from http://www.SavingBristol.com, I have changed the “donate” link to go directly to http://www.LilithFund.org, an organization that helps women needing assistance in paying for an abortion.

    I also donated 500.00 dollars via PayPal, four times more than was sent to me and enough to pay for an abortion in the name of Sarah Palin.

    If you really care about the environment, one abortion does more than any hybrid car or a lifetime of recycling. Better still to just jerk off on her back to begin with.

    Do the right thing, Bristol.

    Empty the chamber. ”

    No comment here, just keeping everyone informed.

  6. I’m surprised at the thin-skinned-ness of the reaction here. Stanhope has made a career out of pushing the envelope. He says offensive things to intentionally get a rise out of people. He once defended child porn for God’s sake.

  7. Elyse,

    good for starting the thread. I have a daughter and I am supremely concerned about her rights being equal to her brother’s.

    Jen,

    Nicely done. You couldn’t have said it better. Cute little girl! Congratulations!

  8. @Matt Gubser: I’m wondering if you read Jen’s post. That was probably the most measured and interesting response to Stanhope’s publicity stunt that I’ve read. I think it’s patently obvious that he’s intentionally trying to get a rise out of people, and his bombast doesn’t mean we can’t have a serious discussion about the topic.

  9. Fantastic post, Jen. And your kid is adorable. :)

    @Matt Gubser – I said this in the commentary of part 1 with respect to ‘this is just part of his act’ argument.

    This isn’t part of his stand up routine. This isn’t fantasy. It’s him actually making a serious pledge to send real money to Bristol and encouraging others to do the same. He doesn’t want to show a photo of Bristol with money photoshopped into her hands. He’s making a serious offer about a very serious, life-changing situation. And if he’s just kidding around, doesn’t that make it WORSE? She’s a 17-year old kid.

  10. Maybe something to remember is that being “pro-choice” …is just that. A woman makes a CHOICE, and a 17 year old has just as much of a right to have a baby as to have an abortion. Whether or not Bristol Palin made this choice or someone else made it for her, I can’t really waste any time wondering.

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know where I stand on the topic of abortion. I’m uncomfortable with how laws are worded (mainly it doesnt ensure woman are informed of ALL their options), I don’t even know if I think abortion is ethical or unethical , I don’t know if there’s anyone who ever regretted NOT getting an abortion, and I think I would be disappointed with someone I knew if they got an abortion (so I guess that counts as judging them).

    But if I wasn’t already confused enough, let me imagine trying to add to that confusion by actually BEING pregnant. Wow. When I think about it like that, not only could I never judge someone in that situation, but it’s truly a relief to know it’s a decision for me to make if I am ever there (even though I’m about 102% sure I could never have an abortion).

    I think if you aresomeone who is “pro-choice”, the question mxracer652 raised is actually a really, really interesting one.

  11. First of all, truly adorable offspring. I think what really makes the picture work is that the dolly’s head is almost the same size as the girl’s, also rag dolls are inherently more adorable.

    This was a great post (as was Elsye’s I thought). I was astounded by the last comment thread and how many people came to defend Stanhope’s asshatery.
    No one outside the family can be sure how free a choice Bristol had, but that’s kind of the point. Maybe she was encouraged to quietly not be a national symbol of teen pregnancy, and she insisted on keeping the baby, maybe she was strongly pressured to keep the baby.
    Also is anyone else disturbed by the fact that Stanhope is offering money for an abortion to someone whose pregnancy is fairly advanced (isn’t she at like 6 months) and an abortion would therefore be at least somewhat risky?

  12. @Zambiglione:

    Also is anyone else disturbed by the fact that Stanhope is offering money for an abortion to someone whose pregnancy is fairly advanced (isn’t she at like 6 months) and an abortion would therefore be at least somewhat risky?

    I’m not sure what the risks are to the mother at 6 months. I had thought about this but I haven’t looked up any information.

    I do know that the ethics of an abortion at 6 months get very muddy. I don’t even know if a woman can get an elective abortion once she’s this far along.

    Though apparently there used to be a belief among the pro-lifers that a woman could walk into a clinic at 41 weeks, while in labor and still get an abortion… that is completely untrue.

    @taypro:

    You know, I used to be 100% sure I would never have one. And after the 3 years of hell my husband and I went through to have Moose, it sort of seems like a no-brainer.

    But when he was a newborn, I was incredibly overwhelmed (honestly, I don’t know how women with PPD do it) and I was terrified that I might get pregnant again. And my husband and I were lax with the condom use. I knew I was not ready to have another kid. While I was 99% sure I wasn’t going to get pregnant, there was still a little part of me that worried about my body popping out an egg. At that point, I knew what I would do… and it wasn’t going to involve having another baby right then. No way no how.

    A year later, life is a little easier and I’m more acclimated to Moose and motherhood. I’m not a hormonal, sleep-deprived mess. Even though I’m certainly not ready for another, my choice would be a different one than last year at this time.

  13. @Zambiglione: “Also is anyone else disturbed by the fact that Stanhope is offering money for an abortion to someone whose pregnancy is fairly advanced (isn’t she at like 6 months) and an abortion would therefore be at least somewhat risky?”

    Yes, that was one of my first thoughts, actually. She was 5 months along when the news broke.

  14. In a nutshell, I think it’s entirely possible, even likely, that Bristol’s family pushed their ideology on her and forced her “choice.” But no one who isn’t involved can say that for sure. And I don’t see how a strange man forcing (or bribing) the opposite choice for an opposite ideology makes the landscape better for supporting women to make their own informed choices about their lives, bodies, and families.
    Could have stopped right there, this pretty much says it all…

    I don’t think Stanhope is wrong in this case because his “joke” just isn’t funny (even though it isn’t). He’s wrong because he’s publicly implying, if not straight out saying, that judgment should be passed on Bristol for doing what she’s doing. Or if she does something else, that another, more favorable judgment should be given to her. And that’s what I have a problem with.
    I kind of see what you are saying here, but I get something different from his site.

    I see him making a statement that the only reason she, or anyone else in her situation (teen or unplanned preganancy) would automatically choose an abortion if it weren’t for her overbearing politically inclined righteous mother. I disagree with this notion. For one, it is possible (not bloody likely mind you, just possible) that her mother offered her love and support no matter what she chooses.

    Secondly, saying an abortion is always the best option is just as wrong as saying it is never the best option.

    Jen said it in her post. The best option is always for the people involved to assimilate all teh facts and make the best choice for their own unique situation.

    And it is up to the rest of us to keep our opinions to ourselves on the matter.

    Unfortunately people like Doug Stanhope just can’t get over themselves…

  15. @Matt Gubser: Let’s look at what Jen said, exactly:

    I’m not saying that Bristol keeping her baby is the right decision, or that abortion would be the wrong decision. I’m saying it’s not my place, or Doug Stanhope’s place, or Sarah Palin’s place, or anyone else on this planet’s place, to say, even jokingly, and especially in a public forum, either way.

    I read that to mean that we have no right to declare whether or not a particular 17-year old girl should have an abortion or not. That sounds perfectly sensible to me, and not at all out of line with what this site is all about. We’re certainly open to discussing whether or not abortion should be legal and looking at the issue in a skeptical manner free of religious or other dogma. And in this particular case with this particular girl, I think it’s fair to discuss whether or not she was pressured to make a decision she didn’t want to make. However, I agree with Jen that we don’t have all the facts in this case, and therefore have no way to make a judgment about what she should or should not do with her baby.

  16. Can I judge you for starting a sentence with “and” or for having one word sentences? Nope! OK. This is informal writing, that’s fine. ;)

    I can’t fault you for anything else though. And I’m not going to.

    Oh and your spawn is adorable.

  17. In the earlier thread about this same subject, there was at least one man who was arguing that because men contribute half of the DNA to a baby, he should have equal say in what happens to the offspring. Well, even as a man, I totally disagree with that, and see that as the same sort of paternalistic mentality that men have used since Day One to control women’s lives. Only women go through pregnancy. Only women endure labor when giving birth to babies. Only women can actually breast feed. So since the reponsibilities of having children, biologically speaking, are NOT equal, the whole concept of equality with regards to deciding what happens to an unborn child, or even a child newly born, is nonsense. The whole concept of “father’s rights” is about oppressing women, not protecting men.

    I would very much like to see abortion made completely unnecessary in the future, but I’m realistic enough to know that it will be a part of our ugly reality for a long time to come, whether it is legal or not.

  18. As the product of a 17 year old pregnant unwed mother (who did eventually marry the father) I can attest there are those who can do it and do it pretty well. There were rough times, but we always went though it together. I don’t know if you could have stated it any better, Jen. You have the experiences and data on the subject. In a situation like this, the individual needs to make the choice – it can’t be dictated from outside, regardless of how it was intentioned. I never really bonded with my son’s mother but it was having him around that made that time tolerable. Watching a part of you grow from a “sprout” is an amazing thing. Your “sprout” is a sweetheart! Pro-choice does mean the person with the most to gain or lose makes the choice.

    On Stanhope, he is a strange guy. I’m pretty open-minded and not easily offended AT ALL. There are few comedians that really make me wince (George Carlin and AD Clay a few times). I find myself laughing and even agreeing with Stanhope sometimes – then he says something that you can’t help but say “ewwwwwwww” to or “is he serious”?. Probably he isn’t. It’s his way of making a living and setting himself apart from the herd. Watching him is like a roller coaster ride. I guess you have to consider the source, but just like I wasn’t comfortable with the rude and ugly comments leveled at Chelsea Clinton, I’m not comfortable with humour at the expense of Bristol Palin either. It’s a person’s right to do it, I’m just not amused or impressed by it.

  19. You have a pretty young daughter. She looks a lot like the kid who was a head crab zombie.

    Being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever done. I was a single father for years before I married again. Being a single parent is harder than being a parent with a partner. Neither of my wifes has been very helpful with the kids but current wife is a hell of a lot more helpful than their natural mother ever was.

    I regularly tell my kids that they need to put off having children until they have finished school and are making enough money to support themselves and their kids without help. I tell the boys regularly that if they are sexually active that they must, must, must use a condom. That if the girl they are with tells them that a condom isn’t neccessary because she is on the pill that they need to break off that relationship. I was caught that way three times.

    I’m an idiot. Really slow on the uptake.

    If I can get my kids through college before they make me a grandfather I will view myself as a succesful parent.

    I know that people despised me for be a 20 year old father of mixed race kids receiving public assistance while I finished college. Oh well fuck them. I was doing the best I knew how.

    I feel very sorry for the Palin girl. With her family I think she is probably taking daily hell from them and I don’t think Stanhope is doing anything that will make it any better.

  20. @hoverFrog: Yeah, I do that all the time. I call it “my style,” thus exempting me from grammar raids. :)

    @Dale_Husband: Props to you for saying all that. I haven’t heard many men willing to. Also, I agree completely with your last sentence.

    @Gabrielbrawley: Absolutely you did your best. Your children should be very proud of you for pulling through all that.

    Thanks, also, to everyone for the praise my daughter :)

  21. I like SGU’s policy to avoid topics like this as being less appropriate for ‘Skeptical’ analysis. I am not saying the points being made are invalid, but i am saying it degrades the culture on the site. That of course is just my opinion…

  22. Jen,
    Then that effectively limits most criticism of anyone, and makes every opinion on the planet a judgment, does it not? We never will be in someone else’s shoes, nor will we usually be privy to all relevant information behind a decision.

    My criticisms of teenage mothers:
    -Increased health risks for the baby
    -Death rate is 4x higher for the baby prior to age 1
    -Poor nutrition during pregnancy
    -Less prenatal care
    -Children at risk for low academic achievement
    -Children more likely to be incarcerated later in life
    -Children more likely to become teenage parents
    -Lower annual income for both parents
    -80% of teenage mothers depend on welfare
    -Only 1/3 of teenage mothers graduate high school
    -Both parents are at risk for drug/alcohol abuse, lower educational level, and reduced earning potential
    – They burden taxpayers to the tune of $6 billion/year in the US.

    Enough reason to be against a 17 year old parent?

  23. You know Dale, I was gonna let it go as really, that line of discussion was from a different thread. But dude, you are out there big time. As are those who agree with all you said.
    To suggest that fathers having a vested interest, right, and responsibility in to the unborn is somehow oppressing to women is more than false, it is patently absurd and insulting as well.

    And ladies, to be sure I am dissapointed. I would have thought that women everywhere would be happy to know alot of men gave a crap about their kids. Guess not.

  24. @mxracer652:

    Ok, let’s be realistic and agree that teen sex is going to happen no matter what.

    What’s your solution? Force all teenage girls to be on long term birth control? Pills plus shots? Implants? IUDs?

    Legally mandated abortions for anyone under a certain age? All babies born to women under X age must be put in to foster care or adopted?

    Do we stop treating these girls as real human beings altogether?

  25. @mxracer652: Yes on your first question. What you’re missing is that some people are perfectly capable of holding their own opinions without pushing them on others. That’s the difference.

    You also didn’t take into account Elyse’s response, who answered this very well: “One way to judge whether you should be criticizing her would be to take a look at what is more necessary, effective or appropriate – criticism or compassion.”

    On your second question: No, it’s not. Cite verifiable sources, and don’t forget to research the whole story and find how many 17-year-old parents have successfully raised children without these problems, or have persevered through these problems. If you look through these comments alone, there looks like there’s already a couple success cases you can count up.

    Also, almost none of your stated reasons to be against 17-year-old parents apply in Bristol Palin’s case. She is well off, financially supported, with access to superior health care. Which is exactly my point – every situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits all solution.

  26. @drew and Dale: What exactly IS the “vested interest, right, and responsibility in to the unborn” that a father should have? I just want to clarify, as the discussion is confusing me.

    (a) The ultimate right to veto the decision of a woman to have an abortion

    (b) The ultimate right to compel a woman to have an abortion

    (c) Both (a) and (b)

    (d) None of the above.

  27. @drew: Drew, Dale was specifically talking about “the concept of ‘father’s rights.'” It seems evident to me that he was not referring to a father’s love and interest in his child, which I am fortunate enough to see every day and which I do not take lightly, but instead the “father’s rights” movement, which, as Dale described, demands equal say for unequal responsibilities. We can disagree on the details of that particular issue, but it has nothing to do with being appreciative of fathers’ support of their children, and I don’t think you should willfully misconstrue it as such.

  28. Piping in from the other thread…I think the father should be “included”, not in the sense that he should get to make a decision about a body that’s not his, but he should be given the decency of a conversation and participation in the decision-making process (regardless of whether he agrees with the final decision). I think it’s important for people to talk to each other and try to come to an “agreement” of some kind before any permanent decisions are made to protect the emotional well-being of everyone involved.

  29. My wife says I have fathers rights up to the point I disagree with her decision to terminate or carry out the pregnancy. She would be nice about it I am sure, but having rights that are this alienable so to speak is pretty useless.

    On the other hand she is pretty clear that I do have the right to pay the bill either way…

  30. Sorry to bog this thread down even further. One of the reasons I rarely read the comments and even more rarely repsond to them.

    @ TheSkepticalMale:
    For a normal healthy pregnancy, I think A. I am sorry but there needs to be serious consideration given to the father, the fetus is equally his. In some states at least, currently, there is 0.
    I can’t ever imagine there being a situation where the father has a right to B. Though to be even a little bit fair, you could grant him the right to abort his responsibilities. IE walk away leaving the mother holding the burden all on her own.
    I don’t advocate that, I think deadbeat dads are scum of the Earth type of people. But as it stands right now the mother holds all the cards, we only get the jokers, and they really don’t count.

    @Jen:
    I do not see it as willfull miscontrueing. By saying the father has no right, you are also saying he has no importance. How can you appreciate something that you feel has no value? Perhaps I read some posts wrong, but that is how I read some of them never-the-less.

    @kimbo:
    That is a good start. I would like to see some sort of legal arbitor get involved to make sure all sides are given their due consideration.

    Again, this is for normal healthy preganancies only. Health concerns trump rights IMO.

    @wytworm:
    pre-mother effing cisely. In some states at least, you currently have no say in whether that preganancy is carried full term or not. Your wife could abort for no other reason than to spite you. But if she chooses to deliver, you also have no say in whether or not you have a financial burden. You do. And you can lose your freedom if you try to avoid it.

  31. @wytworm:

    Well, this is a SkepCHICK site, populated mostly? by women. And to be fair, I do see and sympathize where they are coming from.
    They don’t want anyone to be able to tell them whether or not they can have a medical procedure. I agree, not anyone should have that power.
    But IMO the father is not just anyone.

  32. Thank you Jen. Well done.

    I’ll throw in my story–I was in graduate school and got knocked up. (Emotional make-up sex that was unprotected.) I should have been smarter, but I wasn’t.

    The father was not supportive at all–he’s a big kid himself, and being a dad was not part of his plan. In fact, he told me he’d deny it was his kid if I had it.

    I really liked being pregnant–that rush of happy hormones makes you feel like a fertility goddess. But..I was in the last bits of a PhD program. Not a good time.

    The decision was made for me when I was run over by a car and lost the pregnancy.
    I have always been very, very relieved that I didn’t have to make the choice. But I’m pretty sure the outcome would have been the same: no baby.

    No one can know what the right thing to do is in each and every situation, so I’m with the “compassion and butting out” crowd.
    Especially for those that are not of legal age, who have a whole host of other issues mucking up what is already a complex situation.

  33. You guys are talking like men are forced and strongarmed into having sex with/being in relationships with women who will get pregnant just to spite the men and suck them dry for money. Or women who will get pregnant just to have an abortion and crush the guy.

    Here’s an idea. You don’t have to have sex with/a relationship with anyone who you don’t want to. If it is THAT important to you to not pay child support, ask a woman whether she would have an abortion or not before you have sex with her. No one is forcing you to risk impregnating a woman who will put you into a situation you don’t want to be in.

  34. @Amanda: “If it is THAT important to you to not pay child support, ask a woman whether she would have an abortion or not before you have sex with her. No one is forcing you to risk impregnating a woman who will put you into a situation you don’t want to be in.”

    Amen … oops, I mean, I agree whole-heartedly.

    (sorry, I still don’t know how to do that italics thingy)

  35. Amanda, that whooshing sound you hear is my point passing over.

    But regardless, I am done with this topic. I can only say the same things in so many different ways before I go insane.

    I now know what Sarah Palin feels like, I too have been blindsided by the Bush Doctrine…

  36. Thanks … But how do you do that italics-with-indenting – to show you are quoting someone else? That’s cool.

    And while you’re at it, can you tell me what to do with this “mouse” thingy, I keep stepping on it, but it’s not doing anything!

  37. Amanda – With all due respect, I think you must agree that no person, woman or man could answer that question reliably before starting a relationship and especially before having sex. The reason people are caught in these situations isn’t because they are bad or stupid people its that these are very difficult situations to navigate correctly 100% of the time and the risk for one error is quite high.

    Please let me know what post I said I wouldn’t pay child support in so i can correct it.

    No one is forcing he woman into the situation either but the situation is still there. What is your point?

    You have to concede that two partners engaging in consensual unprotected sex resulting in a pregnancy occurs all the time. Drew’s point is valid. At this point, the woman has choice, either way. The man does not.

    If the woman doesn’t want the baby and the man does, she gets the abortion — tough luck man.

    If the woman wants the baby and the man doesn’t , touch luck man, and a huge financial penalty that wasn’t discussed or implied or agreed to at any of the prior steps.

    Where is the equality in that?

  38. @ kimbo
    It sure is maddening isn’t it? lol

    @skepticalmale, no I don’t, but I dare say I am not sure I would be able to explain if I did!lol

    Google html codes for 1000’s of pages, you should find one page you like…

  39. First of all, to make a quote you just use HTML for “blockquote.” And remember, the “preview” button is your friend.

    Second of all, when it comes to the rights men have when their sperm fertilizes someone else’s egg, I’ve always said it should work like this: the man gets to vote whether he’s in (as a father) or out as soon as the pregnancy is discovered.

    If he’s in and the woman keeps the baby, he has to pay half the support/help raise the kid. If he’s in but the woman wants an abortion, it is ultimately her decision.

    If he opts out and she keeps the baby, he’s not responsible for the upbringing at all. If he opts out and she aborts, he has to pay half for the abortion. Or the whole thing, I mean, she’s the one who has to go through the procedure.

    The man should get a choice, but that choice should primarily concern his own life. His choice should never force the woman to do something to her body she doesn’t want.

    In RebeccaWorld, anyway.

  40. Quick Question, ladies who got pregnant young (BugGirl already answered). Were these unplanned pregnancies results of unprotected sex? I have been sexually active since I was 15 years old, and I went to the frakking drugstore (with the support of my German Exchange student buddy) myself to buy the condoms (instead of relying on the guy – I had a kind of “if I can’t buy the condoms, I have no business doing it” attitude).

    It was the ’90’s and AIDS was a big deal, but pregnancy was just as big of a deal. I have met people who have had unprotected sex regularly during that age/time period, and honestly, it BLOWS MY MIND.

    So…why wasn’t Bristol using a goddamned condom? Maybe she wanted to entrap “I don’t want to have kids” Levi? He is pretty cute.

  41. @whitebird:

    Might have been for religious reasons that she wouldn’t use a condom. Some CotC (Christians other than Catholic) take the same “the seed is sacred” stance.

    Or they could be two horny kids that slipped up.

    Or you bet, she might have wanted to entrap him, or embarrass her mother, or both.

    Hmmm, now that I think about it, she may well have been acting out to try and get some sort of attention from her big wig mother…

  42. or they could just be stupid know it all kids that felt nothing bad could happen to them, and we are putting way too much energy and attention in scrutinizing it.

    It ain’t our biz anyway…

  43. @whitebird:

    Sarah Palin believes in abstinence-only education. It’s entirely possible that Bristol did not have adequate information about birth control.

    The reality of condoms is that if you just use them, they’re effective about 85% of the time. If you use them correctly, they’re much higher than that. If you put it on backwards, turn it around then put it on correctly, the girl is just as well without you wearing it. You’re still going to have spermies on it. If you don’t pinch the tip, it could blow open. If you leave it on too long, it can leak.

    And maybe since she wasn’t getting good birth control information, she believed things like douching with coke, doing it in high heels, or doing it standing up are effective at preventing pregnancy.

    AIDS is a big deal, but I don’t think it’s the big deal that it was 15 years ago.

  44. And maybe since she wasn’t getting good birth control information, she believed things like douching with coke, doing it in high heels, or doing it standing up are effective at preventing pregnancy.

    Yikes! I hope you are talking flat coke? I mean, I don’t have anything to douche, but just getting coke in my nose makes me cringe…

  45. @ whitebird:

    you know what? I can’t imagine that, and I am very happy for the fact ;-)

    I am not that familiar with Stevie Nicks, but I was thinking a good death metal band name.

    Or perhaps a new interrogation technique for Cheney?

  46. “Abortions for Everybody”
    “Booooo!”
    “Ok, No Abortions at all”
    “Booooo!”
    “Ok, Abortions for some Miniature American flags for others”
    “YAY”

    Problem solved. Wait, but what if women getting abortions want flags too. Dammit, this situation is just too damn complex.

  47. Doug Stanhope is different from many on this website. He knows there is nothing sacred, and it shows both in word and deed.

    Of course we can judge people. Don’t be silly. It is important, and natural, and seperates us from the animals. We are judging machines. We judge, covet, discriminate, envy, and gossip. It rules our societal structure and helps us gradually improve our community values, and update our laws.

    The jesters of our society, like Stanhope, are important. They are not hypocrites. Don’t take them too seriously, but do consider their message. No matter how brutal a force it may initially hit you with.

    Am I making sense to anyone here?

  48. Cruising late night channels I found Letterman, 11:46PM, Sept 17 on what happens if McCain is president and he dies in office:

    “at the very least, I’d want a President who spent at least 5 minutes with their daughter speaking about birth contol”

    Point. Game. Match.

  49. @halincoh: and that is all Doug Stanhope was trying to say. People let themselves get completely derailed by the ethics of “judging” a pregnant 17 year old and wether it is a better option to abort than to keep a baby.

    The point is, and always has been, about Palin’s parenting. How could everyone miss that?

  50. anyvainlegend said:

    The point is, and always has been, about Palin’s parenting. How could everyone miss that?

    Exactly. Sarah Palin is the person in the limelight. She has placed herself in that situation and opened herself up to attack and praise alike. Bristol Palin has done nothing….well, she clearly has done something and probably more than once but nothing that deserves being held up as a pariah for teenage sexual conduct. By all means point to Sarah Palin’s policies of abstinence only education and highlight how they fail, she promoted them in a public forum after all.

    Bristol Palin isn’t standing for office though.

  51. @hoverFrog: No-one’s saying 17-year-olds shouldn’t have sex, or get knocked up. But they should have access to adequate sex education, and permission to make an informed decision about their bodies. The criticism is not on Bristol, and no-one is judging Bristol, it is specifically a comment on Palin’s parenting.

  52. Is this drew guy being serious, or just trolling at this point?

    Earlier, he said:

    You know Dale, I was gonna let it go as really, that line of discussion was from a different thread. But dude, you are out there big time. As are those who agree with all you said.
    To suggest that fathers having a vested interest, right, and responsibility in to the unborn is somehow oppressing to women is more than false, it is patently absurd and insulting as well.
    And ladies, to be sure I am dissapointed. I would have thought that women everywhere would be happy to know alot of men gave a crap about their kids. Guess not.

    What a strawman, as Jen recognized. Usually a woman appreciates a man who willingly sticks around to support and love the child they made together, PROVIDED SHE WANTS TO KEEP THE CHILD HERSELF! But if she doesn’t, either choosing to abort the pregnancy or to give the baby up for adoption after it is born, that really should be her choice, not the man’s. It seems you don’t love the woman very much if you see her as a walking incubator and are using her to fulfil YOUR desires for fatherhood at her expense. And of course, it is equally wrong for a woman to use a man as nothing more than a sperm donor.

  53. (on his ex-wife’s abortion) Has anyone had an abortion? You’re all rapt with attention now, all of a sudden, so I assume you all have. It’s a fucking horrible thing to go through. And not horrible in that “Oh, it’s a living thing, what are we doing?” Fuck the living thing. A genital wart is a living thing. If it’s gonna irritate you for life, burn it off, right? Bladder cancer is alive and growing like a baby in you. If you try to remove that I’ll protest you and say “stop playing god.” … Before you actually go and get all quiet and pissy, like I’m some asshole about this, keep in mind I’m just telling you the parts that I think are funny. You don’t know the reason we had… The reason we had an abortion was… It wasn’t because… It wasn’t frivolous. We didn’t have an abortion because we weren’t ready to take care of a child, we were irresponsible, or because we’re not financially capable of taking… The reason we had it is ’cause I really wanted to see what it felt like to kill a baby.(http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Doug_Stanhope)

  54. @hoverFrog:

    This has nothing to do with Sarah Palin or her parenting. (anyvainlegend is attempting to take a shot at me and the other Skepchicks here.) This is about society’s right to judge a pregnant teen for her making the “wrong” choice and using her to push agendas while forgetting that there is a human being involved here, soon to be two of them.

  55. The problem anyvainlegend is that in this case, can and should a pregnant 17 year old girl be subjected to all the scrutiny and judging?

    She is not in the limelight through any action of her own, nor is she benefiting from the publicity.

    Just because her mom is in the public arena does not make it open season on her minor children.

  56. yes dale, it is entirely possible to make a serious point, that you happen to disagree with. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll, but thanks for the vote.

    Since pretty much all the original thoughts on this topic have been put on display here, I suggested I would bow out. Hardly the act of a troll, don’t you think?

    Of course it looks like you are not done, dragging it over here and then trying to rekindle, looks a bit more trollish I would say, though maybe you have limited internet access.

    If you want to keep going, take it up with someone else.

  57. @Elyse:
    I’m actually not picking on you or any other Skepchicks on this thread. I don’t think Palin is a ‘shitty mom’, as you delicately put it, with her sex ed policies, and I feel bad for ALL the Bristol Palins out there brought up inside this religion meme that makes abortion and safe sex a ‘sin’. I say again, this whole issue with Doug Stanhope and these two threads is more to do with Sarah than Bristol.

    @Elyse:
    @drew:

    Yes, it’s unfortunate she’s dragged into the edge of her mother’s spotlight, but it is nonetheless so. People will judge regardless, and it has merely served to highlight issues important enough to talk about. Our chatting about it on here is not hurting Bristol one iota. If it has caused the nation to get talking about this issue by her exposure then perhaps there’s a silver lining there somewhere.

  58. I completely agree that Stanhope is claiming to know much more than he could possibly know about Bristol Palin, and he certainly deserves criticism for this little stunt. That being said I think that just leaving it at “it’s her choice”, while technically being correct (of course it’s her choice) fails to point out the role her upbringing probably played. When you are raised in the kind of community Bristol was you still technically have a choice, but the way the choice is presented is not “abortion or no abortion” it’s “murder your baby and go to hell or have your child and go to heaven”. Now admittedly I might be making the same mistake Stanhope is in assuming to know more than I could but I think some of the information that has come out about Palins church is very revealing of the general upbringing Palin’s children must have had.

  59. When you are raised in the kind of community Bristol was you still technically have a choice, but the way the choice is presented is not “abortion or no abortion” it’s “murder your baby and go to hell or have your child and go to heaven”.

    While I do agree, I can’t say I fault the parents for that. I mean, if they really and truely believe that, it is their duty to teach it to their kids.

    I just don’t want them teaching that stuff to mine…

  60. I don’t think you have to judge the parents or church community for teaching that to accept that the difference between those two choices is clear. I happen to think that it’s absolutely terrible to teach children that, but that is not the point. The point is that saying she is the one that gets to make the choice is all well and good, and I agree. But I think we need to keep in mind the choice she may be making is inevitably colored by the beliefs she was raised with. And she did not have a choice about those.
    If I knew Bristol Palin personally I would not tell her what choice to make, but what I would tell her is that the choice is not between heaven and hell, it is between aborting the fetus or not, and then she can take it from there. As it is I do not know her, and so all I will do is to say in general, to the world at large, let the woman make the choice, always, but make sure that all women, especially young women, have a realistic view of their options. And I think that this idea of Bristol, or shall we say women in these communities and church groups in general, not having a realistic view of the choice they are faced with, has been (for the most part_ ignored in both the posts and their respective threads.

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