Choice is the Issue February 4, 2010Posted by Sara Imershein MD in Healthcare, Wellness.
In Touch Magazine paid former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her daughter, unwed, teenage mother Bristol, $100,000 for the cover article: “We’re Glad We Chose Life.”
The irony of the title appears lost on some. Bristol Palin has become the spokesperson for virginity and abstinence, even though she chose neither path. She represents Candies Foundation, supported by a company who advertises, “Oops, I did it again…” and markets sexy and suggestive clothing to teens. So, is the message: dress like a slut but keep your panties on? Don’t fund education about the consequences of being unprepared? Unprepared with contraception to prevent pregnancy? Unprepared to be a parent? Unprepared to make a decision about pregnancy?
Rather than promoting the sex education information she never received on how to avoid pregnancy and infection, Bristol Palin now espouses abstinence . Ironic, after having pre-marital and unprotected sex, the new teen-mother now pushes the do what I say, not what I do message. We all know hypocrisy is an eye-roller for teens.
On Oprah, and in her autobiography, “Going Rogue”, Sarah Palin revealed she understood why women choose abortion. I am sooooo impressed. She understood, even perhaps felt, for a brief moment she could empathize with some women, any woman with the same or different and unique circumstances, who might make a different choice than Palin’s!
Sarah and Bristol Palin actually admit they had a choice and chose to continue their unplanned pregnancies. Let’s preserve that right, the right to make one’s own decision, a private, personal and complex decision. A right guaranteed by Roe v Wade for ALL women faced with pregnancy. These two women, one with an unplanned teenage pregnancy, the other with a chromosomally abnormal fetus had the opportunity they want to deny others. They considered and made decisions for themselves – about their bodies, their futures, and their pregnancies. Kudos to them! Choice is the operative word. It could have gone either way for the Palin women, but if they had chosen to terminate you betcha they wouldn’t be on a magazine cover! Why not?
Because, the decision to terminate is private, personal and profound. Each woman’s story represents a unique set of circumstances. The decision is always difficult and soul-searching. That’s why such major decisions need to be supported with correct and unbiased medical information AND respected, whatever the woman’s choice. Whether a pregnancy is un-planned and unwelcome because of timing, finances, or obligations to other children…. or if the pregancy is wanted desperately but prenatal tests reveal an abnormality, the decision must be based on the woman’s own complex situation and personal values. No woman plans to get pregnant and terminate. Half of American pregnancies are not planned and each and every woman has the right to decide her own future. An unplanned pregnancy may present a hard decision but is far superior to no choice at all. Numerous reliable medical studies have shown no matter how challenging, the resolution to stop a pregnancy from reaching term does not increase mental illness nor cause permanent damage. More than half of women seeking abortion already have children and a third cite caring for the children they have is one reason they choose to terminate. Let’s trust these women to make their own decisions for themselves and their families. Each American woman deserves the right to make her own choice – Just like Bristol and Sarah Palin – let’s keep it that way.