The daughter of former Alaskan Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin is using her own experience to educate young women about teen pregnancy. Bristol Palin made headlines when it was discovered that she was pregnant at age 17, just after her mother was named as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 Presidential elections. Palin and her baby’s father, Levi Johnston were engaged during the Presidential election campaign but they broke up shortly after their son’s birth.
In 2009 Bristol Palin began working with organizations like the Candie’s Foundation that help to fight teen pregnancy. As a spokesperson she has used her own situation in life to help educate young women of the consequences of sex and the difficulties of being an unwed teenage mom. Although Ms. Palin should be commended for her work with these organizations she should be truthful about her life and not use her position to put down her baby’s father. On Wednesday May 4, 2010 Bristol Palin made an appearance on the ABC talk show “The View”. On that visit she talked about her advocacy of teen abstinence and her work with the Candie’s Foundation. She explained the difficulties of being a single mother. Barbara Walters asked Bristol Palin if Levi Johnston was participating in taking care of her son Tripp. It would seem that Ms. Palin has mastered her mother’s skill in deflecting questions. With the skill and finesse of a pro, Palin replied,
I’m a single mom. I think that says everything that I need to say. But what is relevant right now is that 2,000 teen girls get pregnant each day and that’s what I’m here to talk about.
I think that if Bristol Palin is going to go out in the world and talk to young women about the consequences of being a teen mom she needs to be completely honest about her own situation. She receives court ordered child support from her baby’s father Lei Johnston. Johnston has visitation rights, meaning she’s not raising the child alone. When the child is with his father, she has a break at least. Also, she is not the typical teen mom. She is a paid spokesperson. On “The View,” she says that she has a condo. Most teen moms don’t have high paying high profile jobs. Most teens don’t have the other parent paying more than a $1,000 in child support either. One other thing that sets Ms. Palin apart from most teenage mothers her age, her mother was Governor of Alaska and a candidate for Vice-President of the United States.
Bristol Palin says that her family isn’t at “Her disposal”. Do you believe that she doesn’t get any kind of support from her family? Regardless of her family’s involvement in her life the fact is that she is in a much better position than most teen mothers. According to DoSomething.org a organization that advocates teens involvement in the community says that only one third of teenage mothers earn a high school diploma. It also says that only about 1.5% of those mothers will receive a college degree by the time the reach 30. Bristol Palin is no typical teen mom, but she can still act as a poster child for teen pregnancy. But when she makes it seem like she is doing it all alone and dodge questions on Levi Johnston’s involvement with raising her son, Bristol Palin looses her credibility as a spokesperson.
Bristol Palin needs to let these young women known that while her situation isn’t typical, its much better than the average teen mother in the U.S. Most single teen mothers struggle to raise their children in poverty. She should emphasize the fact that she gas an advantage most teens do not have and it’s still difficult for her as a single mother. If Bristol Palin takes incorporate these tips, I see her having a successful career as a spokesperson. The work she is doing with young women is wonderful. She does have her mom’s talent for handling the press. She could very well be the next generation of leaders.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center
Solutions for America
“The View” ABC-TV