Abstinence As Birth Control: Fail! U R Doing It Wrong!
During the campaign, I was pretty adamant about not going after Sarah Palin for her parenting choices, nor after her pregnant, teen-age daughter, Bristol. I've been a pregnant teen-ager and a teen-age mom, and, under the best of circumstances, it's no bed of roses in this culture. But Bristol's decided to make the rounds of various talk shows; at least, I assume she, not her parents, made that decision. So I do intend to comment on one point. A few weeks ago, Bristol was interviewed and said, that telling young people to be abstinent is "not realistic at all."
In the final video, the talking head interviewing the father of Bristol's child, says to him that Bristol now says that abstinence is the only "surefire way to prevent teen pregnancy. Which is true."
No, it's not.
Abstinence, as a method of birth control, has an horrific fail rate. Bristol Palin herself was using abstinence and got pregnant. There are thousands of people who were practicing abstinence until that method of birth control failed. So it is absolutely not a way to "effectively, 100%, foolproof, surefire prevent pregnancy." My guess is that the failure rate is so high that, if it were being sold at drugstores, rather than through propaganda and the press, it wouldn't be able to call itself an effective method of birth control.
And if there's a population for whom abstinence is more likely to fail than for any other population, my guess is that it's teenagers and very young adults. This is a population charged with hormones, as well as a population that still hasn't gotten (and yes, these are generalizations) the notion that "it" can happen to them, whether "it" is losing control of a car after a few beers or getting pregnant after a few "abstinence failures." And, because they're practicing abstinence, which they've been told is 100% effective and foolproof, they're less likely to have a condom or some other method of birth control around "just in case."
It's one thing for Bristol Palin, who, as far as I can tell, never really got much education beyond junior high school and who has been raised in an extreme fundie church, to go around spreading misinformation about the effectiveness of abstinence as a method of birth control. But it's another thing for adult interviewers on television to agree with her. Kali on a cracker, how difficult would it be to say, "You say it's 100% effective. It's not. You used it and you got pregnant. You said a few weeks ago that it's not a realistic method of birth control for young people. Why have you changed your message?"
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."