September 2nd, 2008
01:35 PM ET

Bristol Palin and sex ed

[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.vert.bristol.palin.bball.jpg caption="Bristol Palin, daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, poses as a member of the Juneau-Douglas High School junior varsity basketball team in February 2007." width=292 height=320]Amy Holmes | Bio
CNN Political Analyst

Editor’s Note: Amy Holmes is an Independent conservative who has not endorsed any candidate for president.

Here's what we know. Bristol Palin is pregnant. And that's all we know. We don't know if she was unaware of how babies are made, or how to acquire contraception. As the eldest of five children, it's hard to imagine that she was not acquainted with the basic facts of life. And none of it is our business.

If we want to turn someone's personal life into a teachable moment, may I suggest John Edwards? "Warning: Extra-marital sex may result in messy paternity rumors and derail national political ambitions."

Do they teach that in sex ed?

Filed under: Amy Holmes • John Edwards • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. T Len Davis

    This woman is very selfish, how can she accept the position knowing her daughter is pregnant. How can she campaign and be of support to her daughter she has made a very private matter about her family international news. I feel sorry for her 17 year old daughter. Children commit suicide and become deeply depressed over comments made on the internet at myspace etc.. how much more so on national television, radio, newspapers and the internet.
    This is not her time to shine shame on her

    September 2, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  2. Secert

    HELLO, everybody!!! Fornication, is a sin. Bristol’s pregnancy is her parents fought if they fail to tell her about sex. So this is not only the girl fought but that of the parents and the farther of her child along with his parent. It doesn’t bother me so much that Bristol Palin is pregnant. I could care less. However, it does bother me that her mother is running for VP of the US. We are a Country known for setting examples and others countries live by the examples we set. We attack Iraq, Russia attack Georgia. We run up a tillion plus debt, China refuses to lend us any more money. See Country known for our examples.

    September 2, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC

    Doug wrote:

    "Do you realize how many 18+ african-american males are in jail for this kind of thing?"

    Quite a few, I have no doubt, with many more free and knocking up more underage girls. For some reason, the media only seems to be interested in white underage mothers, even though the illegitimacy rate among blacks is almost 80% (Bob Herbert, "A Dubious Milestone," NY Times, 6/21/2008).

    September 2, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  4. JG

    Sarh Palin appears to be a strong woman and a good mom and noone in the public arena should criticize her otherwise.

    But for me the preganant daughter issue is not so much a poor reflection on Sarah Palin but moreso on the Republican party and their moral agenda. Although I wholeheartedly agree with the party's economic principles, its religous dogma based moral outlook is too great an obstacle for my vote when the party itself is full of hypocrisy.

    When I hear Terry McCollugh say that nothing more will energize the Repbulican female base than an attack on Palin gets me thinking – thats what it takes to energy the base? Does that mean the the party's platform is does not?

    My vote and confidence for McCain is rapidly diminishing.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Herb Brenner

    Sarah Palin's bio indicates that her firstborn was conceived before she was married. Her firstborn was born 8 months after they eloped. Unless he was a premie, like mother, like daughter.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  6. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    Whether you teach sex-ed, provide free condoms, or teach abstinence, sex is part of human nature. There is no contraceptive that is 100 percent guaranteed to prevent a pregnancy, only abstinence does that. Maybe Amy prefers bringing back chastity belts?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  7. nikki

    It's a bit disturbing how this has gotten so much attention in the news...and how much it's spoken about.
    All I've heard about in the past few days is Bristol's pregnancy, and Gustav.

    I can understand that people want to know anything about everything about the people who will be in charge of their country, but come on people... there's got to be a line drawn as to what the limits are of how much you should know about a person's life.

    of course it says a lot about this woman on how she raises her daughter if she's 17, unmarried, and pregnant... but who else is perfect? who raises their children without any mistakes?
    And let's be honest here... her daughter is of an age where she can make her OWN choices! It's not as if her mother had anything to do with her daughter's choice in the first place.
    All a woman can do is raise her child as best as she can, and hope that she makes the right choices.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Why are we talking about Sarah Palin's daughter and this very private family matter, instead of talking about Gov Palin's affilation with a group that believes Alsaka should be it's own country? I had never heard of the Alaska Indepence Party before this morning. And after a simple gooogle seach I was amazed to hear Sarah Palin addressing this group at their polital convention. Who's in charge of vetting John McCain's judgement?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  9. Mary White

    What are you talking about? Sex ed is taught in schools. They even pass out condoms in some and we still have an increase in teen pregnancies. In my opinion its the constant bombardment of sex in every aspect of our lives, ie:movies, magazines, tv ads and on and on. I saw a promo of a new tv series coming up in the fall that quite frankly appalled me. The promo showed a picture of the young teens that will be in the series and it is no wonder that so many young people think being sexy is more important than having character.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:48 pm |

    It does not matter to the major of the US what her daughter does
    sexually. it does matter in the respect that she is not following
    christian values that is part of her story.
    I just wonder how palin can do her job with so many kids still to take care of and be a good mother.

    As to her experience as governor of Alaska.

    We need to remind the country that George bush as also a governor
    and look what happened to our country and what the world thinks of the US. All turned out to be the worst story possible.

    She is only there to give republicans a story. Nothing else.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  11. Marlon

    True the children of the candidates should be off limits but this speaks more to the values or lack there of, of the mother. She advocates that she's pro-life but does not support sex education. Doesn't appear to support contraceptives but obviously condones minors having sex. I don't think she should have to switch sides on the abortion issue but should, at this point, be more willing to support sex education in schools.

    Personally, if I were Palin I would be completely embarrassed to have this happen when I'm supposedly a pro-this and anti-that type of candidate. It's ridiculous. I'm also wondering if the 4 year old "son" is not in fact her grandson.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  12. Mary White

    I agree that CNN is becoming a tabloid. Since when do its commentators make statements such as"Tracking the latest rumors". A comment made yesterday on Wolf Blitzers show. The rumors in question related to the Palins 4 month old baby. What a disgrace. Sorry I do not remember the commentators name.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  13. amber

    Sarah Palin brought those children up on stage with her and introduced them. Told everyone about her baby with DS, about her son about to go to Iraq. SHE brought her children into this, knowing her poor daughter would be exposed eventually. With that blanket laying over her to hide her pregnancy, she knew the press would go back to those photos. I find it appalling that she exposed and used her family in this way! Oh, and now it is a family matter. Notice the McCains dont bring Megan on the stage this election, they should have advised Palin to do the same. It is disgusting!

    September 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  14. Madeline

    Teen pregnancy can happen to the best of families. It's a private matter. Also, I'm amused that people think Palin can't handle the responsiblities of being a good mother while serving as VP. I haven't heard one person question whether Obama can be a good father if he is elected. I'm certain that Obama won't abandon his kids for the Oval Office and the same will be true for Palin.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  15. Evelyn

    First on Gov Palin: She threw her daughter under the bus! What did she think would happen to Bristol when this came out should she be the VP candidate? Something that should have been a private family matter is now front page news, thanks to Mom, the hypocryt who is against sex education and contraception in Alaska schools.

    Next, McCain: As his first major decision he choose a woman who had been Mayor of a town of 9000, one year Governor of a state of 600,000 (the size of Phily), meanwhile he's a 72 year old, 4 time cancer survivor. Now, surprise, she's under investigation by her own sate leg and her 17 year old is pregnant and he knew? Unbelievable!

    September 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  16. Carrie

    According to news reports ( hopefully accurate) the young man in question is Levi Johnston who is 18 years old from Wasilla Alaska, who's birthday would be in Febuary according to his myspace page, so if Bristol is 5 months pregnent and a minor at time of conception then the would mean he broke the law, unless the laws are different in Alaska. So it seems to me mom was not mindful of who her daughter was dating or that she was having sex, or how old her boyfriend is. I feel bad for that young girl and the path she is taking or the path her parents are making her take, maybe she dosen't have a choice. But if her boyfriend was sleeping with a underage girl then that is a crime.. If McCain new all this before hand then he knew the spotlight it would get...So whos is looking out for Bristol?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  17. Michael, NC

    Well Brenda-
    first of all, it's not "all right". It's " alright".
    Sen Palin is not is not a "selfish self"...or whatever. She has just been offered the most prestigious honor she has probably ever received. This is not an offer to be manager at Burger King. This is the VP. Would you turn it down if you were in her position? I have my guess at that.
    She isn't responsible for putting her daughter through anything, it was her daughter's choice to lay down, so the repercussions are her own.
    McCain probably possesses ten times the political and governmental knowledge of the average American citizen (which would include YOU). Sooo, if he is old and senile, what does that make us? Uneducated? Ignorant?

    Answer that.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  18. Arachnae

    If we want to turn someone’s personal life into a teachable moment, may I suggest John Edwards?

    Good try, Amy, but John Edwards is not advocating government scrutiny and control of female uteruses, as Sarah Palin is.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  19. Meg

    I don't think this should be news...what her mother is doing is news. Just because they have high profile parents doesn't mean they have bad parenting methods or that they are incompetent. It simply means that at one point Ms. Palin had sex and got pregnant, she is not the only one and won't be today or any other day.

    What ever happened to to reporting important things instead of gossip or trivial crap? Old newspaper articles include the entirity of presidential speeches and important news and information about the people and their world. Why do we need to know about a pregnancy, or a car accident or whatever is going on? If a person, who is in a public position, is inhibiting their ability to perform their duties/activities that may be news. But what their families do is mostly private, so leave it that way.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  20. gene

    why would mrs palin daughter be off limits. when the media went after obama spritual life i thought that it was personal to. the only way to test the water you have to turn the knob is it hot or cold.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  21. Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    This is what happens when you don't want to have sex-ed taught in the schools.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  22. Samantha

    Maybe she did it to get attention from her mother!

    Why would she allow her self to become pregnant and not care.
    Maybe her mothers political life style has taken its toll on the family.

    Its almost the same question you would ask a PK...the pressure sometimes it to great and they snap.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  23. Tabaitha

    But does the daughter really have a choice to keep the child and marry the father. According to her mother I would venture to say no. So is it really supporting her when the mother is making the decision for the child and the rest of her life.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  24. Brenda Harris

    The republican party is really out of touch.

    I think they really don't know that we are really experienced intelligent human beings.

    We have all been through some things. Don't mean we will go along with stupid stuff. We aren't stupid. DAH!

    We are not turning the white house into a convalesant home and romper room or a perscription dope den.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  25. Victoria

    Amy, you are right.

    It's none of our business. It's a family matter, and hopefully they are allowed to handle it as such without the prying eyes of the world watching. May God bless them in this trying time.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 2, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Jen Toluca Lake, CA

    Amy, get a life.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  27. Megan

    It doesn't bother me so much that Bristol Palin is pregnant. What bothers me is that her mother knowingly put her out on the world's stage. This morning I saw pictures on the internet of Bristol with alcohol all around her in a number of photos. Um...where are the parents?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  28. Brenda Harris

    You know if this had been anyone else maybe it would not be an issue. We have to hold people who run our country to high esteem.
    Saying this is nothing. Well, what you are saying to the children of the country. "It's all right to get pregnant". It's ok to have children raising children. Her mother should be ashamed of her selfish self for putting her daughter through all of this mess. If she did't know. How can she run a country with No common sense.
    We know Mccain is Senile what's her excuse?
    Come on I dare you to answer this

    September 2, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  29. stef

    Not everybody in a family agrees on everything; some family members vote republican and others democrat.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  30. Neil

    Getting pregnant is avoidable. Sex is for having children (as we can see, again) and that should be taught first and foremost. Abstain or at most don't have intercourse. Have other kinds of sex, if you cannot control yourself. It is not an accident. We choose to procreate, to create life.
    I am not going to vote for McCain and Palin. He is old and dumped his wife for the rich queen. He was a bomber pilot not a general so that does not make him President. The trickle down theory is NOT working and so many Republicans are selfish and judgemental.
    I voted for Bush but not G.O.P. again.
    I have no problem with Sarah herself. She could be in a Presidential cabinet. But she is not qualified as a Presidential candidate.
    Just my opinion.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  31. Michael, NC

    Some of you people make me sick. Quick to point the finger and demoralize the Palin family. Wake up. You mothers out there thinking your children are angels who are saving it for marriage...get a clue. You're adolescent is more than likely one of the ones actively engaging in sex. The overwhelming majority of late teenagers are having sex. That's a fact. Look it up.
    My parents were extremely active in my teens, but I messed up and got my girlfriend pregnant. Yes, I was taught all the "abstinance is the only 100% effective birth control!!!" bull, but that goes right out the window when you leave that classroom. Don't act like it doesn't either. Odds are that most of you blogging had premarital sex...shocker isn't it...That doesn't make me a bad person, or a rebelious hellion brought up in an irresponsible household, it made me-and continues to make me a responsible, loving father who would put my son Titus before anyone else in the world.
    So stop pointing the finger, and look at the positives Palin could bring to the table, not her family's personal issues. They are PERSONAL, and none of our or the media's business.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  32. stef

    Where are the posts on Sarah Palin's husband, or is she a single mother?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  33. marie campbell

    I look at Sarah Palin as another Harry Truman.

    Remember the buck stops her Harry! I see Sarah Palin as a person like Harry Truman, who will not shirk her duties. Who will not be backed down by the Good Ole Boys.
    I say give her a chance. She might be just what we need in Washington

    September 2, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  34. Janice Sapsis

    In my opinion, teenage pregnancy is a complicated issue all over the world. It is an economic concern, it is a health concern, it is a social concern . It raises questions
    , I think about the "real value" of life. Why do the republicans dummy up every important , complicated issue of our times?
    Is a young mother with family responsibiliites herself, who still has not completed even one term in her office as govenor, now just up and leaving them both ? Is she really a serious minded, commtitted, problem solver or is she just an assertive pretty face with a superficial, underdeveloped world view?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  35. Wanda

    Ummm. She is NOT the oldest of 5 children!

    She has an older brother.......

    Let's also take note that she could have taken the "easy" way out of her situation.....and had an abortion.
    I do not condone pre-marital sex...but am happy at her stand to keep her baby and marry the father.

    Just this past year....it was a big yeehaw for Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy. Teenagers that play big people games get big people consequences. Let's do our part and help young people make right choices.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  36. Vegas

    Lucky for the baby her mother is pro life... even if Obama considers a child punishment...

    It's nice to see how the unity and change camp attacks not only women but girls as well...


    September 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  37. Loretta

    Yes, Palin's daughter having a baby is a private matter. However, her mother threw Bristol into the spotlight when she decided to accept the VP nomination. If I were 17 years old and having a baby out of wedlock , I would be so angry at my mother for doing this to me. I believe Sarah Palin is very ambitious and her love for her family comes second ! Let's face it, she has a child with special needs and a daughter that really needs her right now. Is she ready or capable of being VP at this time. This country is in a real crossroads right now and we need someone who can be committed 100%. While Palin has done some great things, many people are questioning her character (read the blogs). I find it hard to believe that someone on Palin's staff would try to get Palin's ex brother-in-law fired without getting permission from the boss....c'mon. This country has been duped by the Bushes for a long time so maybe McCain and his advisors thinks the public will fall for anything. I believe Sarah Palin should take care of her special needs child and hold her daugher's hand during this crisis and not run for VP of the United States. McCain underestimated the women in this country and he should know that women will not vote for Palin just because she is a women. Women admired Hillary because she was an amazing mother and did great things for this country AND NOT JUST BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  38. Jeff in Los Angeles

    I have to disagree with Amy on this one. It IS an issue because Sarah Palin does not believe in sex ed in schools, which would teach children about STD's contraception, and about the issues young high school women face if they were to have a child at 17. Her daughter now being pregnant goes against the very argument she is trying to make, that sex ed is not necessary. This is very different than talking about the stupid choices a married Ex Senator makes about cheating on his wife.

    Barak Obama made a great point when he says we need to REDUCE the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. Without proper sex education, this will never happen. So this very topic is the exact thing we should be talking about. Whether we should be talking specifically about Sarah Palin's daughter, we live in a country with free speech, and Sarah Palin decided to put herself and her entire life in the world spotlight, so its all fair game.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  39. Cindy

    Sex ed is taught in all schools along with abstinence. The teen pregnancy rate has risen to it's highest since 1991. So it seems this method of teaching isn't doing the job. We need to come up with something better. But the bottom line is it's up to the kids to practice it, the parents can't force them.

    Bristol's pregnancy is no ones business. So why another post on it? Like Amy says...if you want to dig up dirt how about Edwards extra marital affair, or Obama's ties to Joe Biden's lobbyist son through earmarks, or Obama's ties to Rezco and that whole debacle that was swept under the rug and not looked at. Hounding a teen for being pregnant is ridiculous.


    September 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  40. William R. McIntire

    If you are a youngster living in Juneau you certainly know first hand how babies are born.

    You learn it in elementary school when the teacher takes you right outside your classroom to the closed creek during the salmon run and you watch how the salmon react in spawning. And you learn it from the experience of a host of other wildlife examples expanding their kind nature's oldest format for specie population enlargement..

    You don't have to teach SEX EDUCATION when you see it naturally so often. The same with American farm girls . . . it's a natural knowledge of life.

    September 2, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  41. Mike

    Amy, cmon. I love your reporting, but this is over the top. Let's take the focus off the young girl. She was already facing the most challenging situation of her young life and now it's been magnified by her own mother's lack of judgment. Both Sarah Palin and John McCain knew what was going to happen here and they decided it was no big deal. Palin sacrificed her own daughter for political gain, it's sickening. This is not about sex education, or contraception, or teenage pregnancy. The issue here is that both McCain and Palin were naive enough to think this would just slide under the radar. It shows a massive lack of judgment and character.

    September 2, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  42. Diane Minor

    The fact that Sarah Palin's daughter is pregnant is proof that one piece of the Republican Platform-abstinence only-doesn't work. If she had had proper sex education, she may have been going to college next year without a baby and without having to choose a life partner in such a hurry. I wish her all the best.

    September 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  43. Pat M

    What I know or don't know about Briston Palin does not concern me not should it. Dragging Bristol into the Media Spotlight is not what I call concern.

    On the other hand, what I know about Sarah Palin does concern me. This issue gave me a much larger insight into the chosen Republican VP. In my view, she shows shows no compassion or concern for Bristol as a mother. in my view, if she was truly concerned about her daughter she would have put the VP offer on the back burner. Any woman knows that having a baby demanding so much care and attention and a pregnant teen is not the time for demanding political aspirations! Sarah's lack of experience for the position of VP and her lack of concern for her family are the two reasons I find McCain's choice for VP appalling! In addition, it appears she hasn't clued in that she was only chosen to snag Hillary Voters. Not a great reason to put your family last! She should take a few lessons on motherhood from Joe Biden the caring, loving father who was willing to give up a Senator's position care for his sons!

    September 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  44. nate

    Hello Amy,

    Children of political hopefuls or incumbents should be off limits to scrutiny. Bristol's situation should be a private matter handled only among her family. Just because Sarah Palin's daughter made an error in judgment does not mean that her mother, Sarah, has inherent erros in judgment. The Democrats and the media should pick another topic to discuss and move on.



    September 2, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  45. Carol, PA

    You are correct Amy, this should be considered a family matter and be left at that. However, neither side should poiticize this matter or make comments about her doing the right thing. The reason this happens in all families is because we are all human. Enough said.

    September 2, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  46. victoria carta

    what do expect from book burners and that like to see women bare footed and pregent this mentally of GOP and call it family vaues

    September 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  47. patricia harder

    I could not agree more. This young lady does not seem to be aware that her mother is in such a public arena. Did Mom have the "talk" with Bristol...maybe she did not have time with so many other things on her mind. What will she do when she lives in Washington????

    September 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  48. jeff

    its unfortunate that its palin's daughter. sarah palin is a public figure now. That means that everything that happens to her or her family is public matter. they say that she is a conservative but not conservative enough to teach her 17 year old daughter that premarital sex is not conservative at all.

    September 2, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  49. Doug

    Isn't the age of the guy who knocked her up relevant? If the guy is 18 or over, this is grounds for a statutory rape charge, under the law. Do you realize how many 18+ african-american males are in jail for this kind of thing? This is an issue that must be looked into!

    September 2, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  50. lampe

    Why, the Hell is this only on the girl? As usual it is the girl's fault. let the girl and her parents deal with this. There are so many more important things going on in this world right now. CNN, please stick with the news that matters. You are becoming more and more like The National Enquirer everyday.

    September 2, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
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