The trimmed sections referred to Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol having been thoroughly fertilized and swelling like the pomegranate fruit I imagine all women's reproductive systems to be. In the rough draft of yesterday's piece most of my comments just made cracks about the girl and her mom, which was fitting of the tone of yesterday's piece. However, the more I read about this situation the more I kept thinking, "What the fuck are they thinking?"
I have no problem with the family's decision to keep the baby. Even if the daughter is being coerced by her parents, she's 17. She doesn't get the full legal rights of a human yet and probably doesn't deserve them. She'll get some of those rights next year (the ability to enter into a contract on her own and the right to vote) and a few more after that. Honestly, I'm not sure I buy that a high schooler can be trusted to make this type of decision on his or her own. I sure as heck wouldn't trust this kind of decision to the idiot boyfriend who couldn't keep himself under wraps.
I don't support their decision to not just quietly abort because I'm pro life. Let's just say that I'm a pragmatist on the issue. I do, however, support their decision because it's theirs to make and I don't think anyone is really upset that a pregnant teen might actually go through with it instead of getting an abortion.
Where I disagree with the judgment of the Palin family is in their other choices for dealing with other issues relating to the pregnancy. As it is now, Bristol (the daughter) is planning on marrying her boyfriend in addition to keeping the baby. This is a horrible idea. Anyone who values the sanctity of marriage should be horrified by this. First, getting married in your teens is usually a stupid idea. I know there are exceptions where couples married in high school and remain happily married in the long term, but those are exceptions and not the rule. People this age are rarely mature enough to manage a relationship as serious and difficult as marriage. Plus, marriage does limit a young person's options in the future. No longer does either teen have the freedom to choose their future paths based on themselves and how much their parents will finance (or allow). They now have to take into account the other person's desires, plans, and needs. I'm sure with this family in their position that the couple will be well taken care of and not have to give up college and a comfortable future just because they are getting married as teens as many kids in similar situations do, but I still see this as a horrible decision for both Bristol and her boyfriend. Getting married just because you got pregnant has nothing to do with doing the right thing for those involved, it simply saves face and keeps up appearances. I'm all for teaching your kids that there are consequences for your actions and to not take sex lightly, but marriage is far too serious and permanent of a thing to use as a punishment or to make an accident look better.
I also read today that the boy will be joining the family on the campaign circuit, which makes it sound like Palin and McCain plan to use the kids' screwup as a marketing tool. Every time the youthful fornicators step into the spotlight the girl's growing belly and her not-quite-a-man fiance shout to the evangelicals "Palin is all for family values! Her daughter made a mistake but she handled it in a morally respectable manner! She hates abortion! Whee!"
The sad thing is that she may in fact be using the problem to further her political career at the sake of publicly undermining the seriousness of marriage and her own daughter's future. God forbid families with fewer resources start looking to the Palins as role models when dealing with similar situations of their own.
*No, the title doesn't have more than a tangential connection to today's post. I wrote it when I was planning on taking a slightly different and thought it was interesting enough to make up for its irrelevance.