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Speaking Out on Teen Pregnancy

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

I saw on the news today that Bristol Palin will be a spokesperson for an organization speaking on teen pregnancy prevention. Bristol Palin, the high school student and daughter of Sarah Palin, who had an infant son in December of last year, will be a paid spokesperson for Candie’s Foundation, and teen pregnancy prevention. Good for her!! I applaud her willingness to come forward and speak on the consequences of teen pregnancy. She had said in an earlier interview “teens should avoid sex, but that abstinence is not realistic at all.”

I see numerous teens in my practice everyday, and have “raised” them since infancy. I am also the mother of a teen and now twenty something year old children and the dialogue about abstinence and safe- sex continues. As I tell my friends who have children that are my patients: “I am their doctor and not their mother”, and I will continue to speak with them about abstinence, and making good choices, but at the same time, we provide them with information and education to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

Unfortunately, abstinence based education has not proven to be the “cure to pregnancy prevention.” Teen pregnancy rates are on the rise. I have had several teens in my practice that have been pregnant. I have had to counsel them, and whatever choice they make, they all impact their lives. As I have told them and their parents, “this is not life threatening, but it is life altering”.

So, kudos to Bristol Palin who is willing to put herself, a teen mother, in the news to discuss teen pregnancy. Whatever your beliefs about pre-marital sex, I do not think there is a parent out there that would wish their child to be pregnant before they are ready, and certainly not while in high school.

I continue to believe that knowledge is power, and like it or not, children get information from their parents. Keep the discussions and dialogue open. Whether they want to admit it or not, our kids are listening. I am waiting to hear what Bristol Palin has to say.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon.

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