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May 7th, 2009
07:29 AM ET


There are a couple of stories out there that caught our eye today in the Heidi show team meeting, and we wanted you to weigh in on them.
First, there's Bristol Palin.
She has started a media tour promoting teen abstinence.
Palin is one of the most high-profile unwed teen mothers out there, along with Britney's sister, Jamie Lynn Spears.
But here's the question.
Will kids listen to an unwed mother about the virtues of abstinence?
Or is she the perfect role model?

Don Lemon is in the Newsroom for Heidi this morning - 9a to 11a ET.

From writer Doug Furnad

Filed under: Anchors • Heidi Collins
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. DaveLee

    Can you say H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E.
    Do as I say NOT as I do, just shows the apple never falls far from the tree.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  2. Web

    This is like telling your kid not smoke pot while you blaze up right in front of them. Sorry but, "Monkey see, Monkey do" is not just in the wild...

    May 7, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  3. Carlton

    No. It is the equivilant of someone who smokes telling someone not to. But then again, she would have to deem the baby a mistake due to her carelessness to make it stick with kids, but that's not how someone with the virtues of the Palin's can view a child...

    May 7, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  4. .Lee Schmidt

    Bristol Palin, like her mother, is a total hypocrite. Anything to appease the conservative base and secure Sarah Palin's place in the limelight. Facts refute the abstinence policy as being effective but they still try to spread that doctrine to teens which will lead to more and more tennage mothers.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  5. Brody Brewer

    Having remaining abstinent throughout high school among many of my friends who were not, I can tell you that I have not seen sex education do much to change teens' minds. I have only remained abstinent due to my religious beliefs (I am a dedicated christian). In order for teens to remain abstinent, they are going to need something better than the daughter of a controversial politician telling them it is a bad move.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  6. sean in newport beach

    The Palin family are the ROLE MODELS OF SHOTGUN WEDDINGS!
    IS THERE ANY DOUBT LEVI WOULD'VE BEEN FORCED TO MARRY BRISTOL IF PALIN WAS VP NOW?!?!? Imagine if McCain/Palin had won the election & McCain dies... we'd have to rename the Presidential quarters to the White Trash House & trailer park with Bristol & her hubby moving in too...

    May 7, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  7. Kurtis M.

    Though I completely disagree her, I would listen to Bristol Palin. If her last name wasn't Palin.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  8. Fran

    I hope that the media will show Bristol Palin in a more realistic way than she appeared in the news this a.m. They should show her as she's awakened for a two a.m. feeding; or trying to comfort a baby with colic; or changing the ever present diapers. And she should point out what fun it is to see all her "unburdened" friends going off to college, or even just to a party, while she stays home being a teen-age mother.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  9. Archibald

    Having had sex as a teenager, getting your signifigant other pregnant is a very scary prospect. However those biological urges are not going to go away. Having the daughter of the GOP circus touring the country does not strengthen the argument of abstinence. Teens and young adults experience the sexuality of promiscuity and sexual exploration in the media everyday and more times than not it leads to curiosity. Safe sex is something that will realistically save individuals and our nation from paying for children born to unprepared individuals.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  10. Robert

    I do not agree with Palin promoting abstinence due to the fact that she herself did not practice abstinence. It would be different however if she promoted safe sex. Personally, I believe you must follow your own advice before promoting it to other people.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  11. Tom S. in PR

    "Abstinence only" programs dramatically INCREASE teen pregnancy! Bristol abstinence message is disingenuous, hypocritical, and dangerous to the teens that she claims to be trying to help, all to further her parent's political agenda!

    May 7, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  12. A. Brown

    Of course teenagers won't listen to Bristol Palin. Sure, they will see what can happen as a result from sex, however, teenagers have an "it couldn't happen to me" attitude. You can't teach teens to just not have sex. All you can do is explain that abstinence is the most effective method against pregnancy, but if that option isn't what they choose, then there are other prevention methods. In other words, comprehensive sex education will reduce teen pregnancies, not Bristol Palin and her message.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  13. Robert, Gainesville, FL

    I think that it is great that a teen mom is out there promoting abstinence, even though I believe that comprehensive sex education would be a better choice.. What I have a problem with is the fact that she switched from her original position on this issue and we do not know why. I am pretty sure I speak for alot of people when I say that I have suspicions that this change of heart may have been caused by pressure from her politically motivated mother.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  14. Grandma Melva

    As a 72 year old grandmother who raised two daughters (two sons also) I wanted my children to finish college and be able to support children before having babies. They did that by having information about "safe sex". Now I have 8 grandchildren, 4 boys and 4 girls. Their parents have provided sex education to them appropriate to their ages. So far, three are in college (1 in graduate school) and two more will begin college in the fall. The other 3 are following their cousins examples and will be college bound in a few years.
    I wanted to raise responsible citizens who contribute to their communities and nation and part of that responsibility was to only have children when they were ready to be good parents and provide good care for those children. More parents should take responsibility for teaching children how to avoid unintended pregnancies with methods other than abstinence. Abstinence when hormones are raging in teenagers is a foolish choice for avoiding babies. If that method is all children know we will continue to have too many unintended pregnancies.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  15. Sara

    I find it very hypocritical of Bristol Palin. How could she stand there in a room filled with young girls and preach abstinence with a baby on her hip? I do not think she's the right person to speak for such a thing. What should be spread is education about condoms, because that is the reality; teen are going to have sex, the least we can do is educate them to use protection.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  16. kevin tovar

    telling who to have sex and who not to have sex is a violation of are rights plus teens r probly more smart than adults when it coms to sex i am a 13 year old student that know aloght about this subject and i think teens shud be able too

    May 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  17. Leo Loza

    Hindsight isn't even at work here; perhaps capitalizing on mom's coat-tails is. Excuse me, but didn't her mom tell her to expect this? Oh, yeah, she was busy doing other things. But more disturbing is the fact that the family is now trying to keep the child away from his father. As a father who experienced the same thing, I fought and won sole-custody of my two boys. It's amazing to me that anyone's even listening to individuals from this family. Nothing personal, but didn't President Obama say "be judged on what you build, not what you destroy"?


    May 7, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  18. hongli

    Don ,Bristol Palin is a LAME DUCK and should not be in the Public eyes on this subject. From all Reports Bristol had a spree as a young person with many guys and drugs.She must also defend the claim out there that she had a sex relationship with a black guy from LA--Kevin. She must also say how many children she really has,one or two? Sorry to say,the Palin family has no CREDITABILITY.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  19. V513

    Teaching abstenace is a great tool in a bucket of many, but to only teach abstanence is nonsense. When a teenager is making out and they make a choice to go to the next step and they do not have a sexual education this leads them into a blind situation. I believe that sex education along with teaching abstenace is the best solution for the problem.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  20. Laurie

    I feel she is back tracking somewhat, she has already put the cart before the horse, so to speak. I also believe her mother may be using this as a policital move to gain exposure.

    In my opinion how can you say, I'm sorry for having sex, but......

    Perhaps Ms. Palin should be attending school and raising her son rather than talking about a subject she appears to have little knowledge of.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  21. Mitch Dworkin

    Bristol Palin may be sincere but her motives could be suspect in my opinion. Why would Bristol completely change her position on the abstinence issue so quickly from February and could this at least in part be a political move where Sarah Palin is using her daughter Bristol to try and score points with the religious right base in order to help prepare for a 2012 Presidential run?

    May 7, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  22. Richard Clark

    The level or social liberalism is sickening. Miss Palin states that she only wishes she could have had her son ten years from now after she has had time for college, a good job and all the other things she should have thought about before having unprotected sex...... Not a single mention of having a FATHER or perhaps being married and providing her child the stability of a two parent family. Sorry miss Palin the horse is allready way out of your barn. Herhaps you should be a spokesperson for some other cause you haven't already violated.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  23. Thomas Mulford

    The idea that anyone would listen to Bristol Palin on the topic of abstinence is absurd. Her decision to speak out is far more likely to be tied to Sarah Palin's future in politics than it is a concern for hundreds of thousands of teens wrestling with the issue of sex. It is laughable to claim she has any real world understianding of the dificulties associated with being a young unwed mother. Bristol is the minor daughter of a govenor and as such is provided with medical care, child care, a home, food...all of which is currently provided for and guarenteed by the state of Alaska.
    Abstinence only is completely unrealistic for most young people, instead what is needed is a platform that addresses abstinence as but one choice among many as to the prevention of teen pregnenacy. Condoms, oral contraception etc...

    May 7, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  24. Tim Cole

    Sure, abstinence works, and so does being a hermit and abandoning all social life, but people are gregarious animals. They seek out others and build relationships, some of which become intimate. The heat of passion that can develop in a matter of seconds from just the brush of a finger can easily dislodge any cooly conceived policy of abstinence. And the burgeoning rewards of climax become unpredictably overwhelming - protection is necessary! I'm sure there are millions who have said: "I kept telling myself No, but I couldn't stop."
    The knowledge and availability of protective measures is as important or even more so than a philosophy. Hayden Panettierre has the truer picture.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  25. Katie

    I do not think she is the perfect role model for this campaign. I agree with what the Heroe's star said, that sex is a natural thing and as long as you are educated then there should not be a problem. I became a mother at 19 years old, unwed. No one will argue that it is an extremely hard thing to raise a child in a situation like this, but I think the "practice abstinence" campaign is out-of-date with today's kids. Sex is promoted in everything that kids see now days, it is unrealistic to ask them to not do it, especially coming from a young lady who DID do it. If she wants to campaign for something, promote eductaion & using protection and show what a teens life will be like if they do not use protection; don't tell them to just not do it.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  26. Elvir Tenic

    This is one of the most ironic things I've heard in a while. An unwed mother advocating abstinence? Bristol Palin had it right when she said on FOX News that abstinence is "not realistic at all". This will not only further confuse kids but will deviate the conversation about safe sex practices that actually work.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  27. norwegian

    I think the whole American way of looking at sex is wrong and works against its goal; to lower teen pregnancies. The US is has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies in the world, and the way of trying to educate teens in high-school not to have sex is clearly not working. I think instead the focus should be on educating these teens in how to have safe sex. Give them sufficient information about condoms and other ways of preventing pregnancy, so that when they eventually will have sex, they will be confident enough about this to use it the right way, and then also prevent pregnancy and STDs.

    In the USA it seems like everyone are "protected" against being aroused sexually out amongst other people. High-schools have rules for what the students can wear, for example only skirts that reach longer than the knees. But at the same school, the cheer-leaders are allowed to wear their outfits, which consist of skirts barely reaching beneath their underwear, which makes me ask: how is this consistent with the rule of what people can wear?

    I am Norwegian, and in Norway, instead of hiding the fact that humans can have sex, we are very open about it. People can wear whatever they want to school and we get free condoms and information about the different aspects of sex by the school nurse, as well as in our science classes. Through not making sex something which should not be done, it is easier for the students to look at sex as something natural instead of something that has to be done because adults says it shouldn't be done. As we all know, something that is illegal will be even more exciting to experiment with for teens, and without the right education within the field, it can end in a teen-pregnancy or even worse, the spread of STDs.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  28. Peter

    I have heard several interviews with Bristol Palin, and I was shocked by the number of times she used the would "CHOICE". Not a clue that she really didn't have a "choice", at least not an informed choice. Her mother at a recently Right to Life Convention, also talked about the "Choice" she had to make. At the same time these two people are actively campaigning to remove the possibility of CHOICE from all women in this country. Does anyone else find this curious?

    May 7, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  29. L B Shuhi

    I had my first child at 16 yr.old my second at 17yr. ..Teens having sex is such a part of their lives. They need to learn abstinence if they have the will power but need to learn respect and love for that partner and that sexual relationships are meant to bring some form of commitment to a relationship.Education about birth control and what a sexual relationship involves if feeling scannot be held back. I love my children but wish I waited for them and myself.

    May 7, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  30. Frank DeMaria

    Bristol Palins comments are, "a step in the right direction".

    The babys fathers comment is, "realistically irresponsible".

    May 7, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  31. Gary from Hunt Valley, Md.

    Long before 2009, the "just say no to sex" message for teens was laughably disingenuous and unrealistic. But Bristol Palin's feeble stab at "sex education" is bizarre. I wonder how much she is being paid to tell young people with her sexual needs to "do as I say, not how I've done." Just when you thought hypocrisy might have a limit, along comes a Palin to prove any heights are possible.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  32. Matt L.

    We need figures like Bristol Palin out there spreading the message of abstinence. We spend more on abstinence prevention in the US than anywhere else in the world, yet we have the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world. We are breeding more hardship into America and our dollars thus far have been altogether ineffective at prevention.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  33. Aaron

    This story suggests a blend of hypocrisy and political opportunism. The young Ms. Palin has about as much credibility on abstinence as her mother does on foreign affairs; her service as an ambassador for abstinence will serve only to cement her mother's credentials the the extreme right. This kid is being used – again.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  34. Lauren from STL

    Bristol Palin should be part of a media tour that promotes the downsides of teen motherhood. I understand the theory that the sinner knows most about the sin, but "celibacy" comes off as ragingly hypocritical. If she were to address an audience of everyday teenagers, most would merely refute her speech with, "Did you use protection when you got pregnant? Were you on the pill?"

    Bristol, you may want to consider limiting your tour to Christian youth group wreck rooms. Otherwise, you'll have to convert non-evangelical audiences in order for them to adopt your rationale.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  35. tom s in PR

    "Abstinence only" programs dramatically INCREASE teen pregnancy rates and she knows it! Bristol's abstinence only message is hypocritical, disingenuous, and dangerous to the teens she claims to be trying to help. All to further her mom's political agenda.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  36. Debbie

    Bristol Palin's message "abstinence" is th best choice for children. We've lowered our expectations for our kids resulting in behavior that requires less and less responsibility. Included in the curriculum for my son's sex education class it was stated that "Abstinence is the best choice" but one of the negatives mentioned was" Abstinence requires SELF DISCIPLINE." What the heck is the matter with self discipline? If just one child learns from Bristol's message I say "Go girl."

    May 7, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  37. Eric Mulligan

    I saw Bristol Palin’s February interview and hoped that Palin would become the voice of a new, more realistic approach to teen sex. Instead, she has sided with the abstinence-only camp, supporting a policy that cannot work. We will never stop teenagers from having sex, and if we do not teach them safe alternatives to abstinence, teenage girls like Palin will bear the brunt of our failure. I applaud the courage of Hayden Panettiere, who expressed a far less popular but more realistic and more helpful attitude toward sex. I hope more people will take views like Ms. Panettiere’s into serious consideration.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  38. Suzie

    A teen with a baby is the highest experiential learning one can receive and impart to other kids possibly making babies. Also keep in mind that when we have sex, we are mixing spirits, tapping into kundalini – a proven spiritual energy we all have whether it is in one's awareness or not. The consequences one possibly faces long after a sexual relationship is over can be tremendous unless one has the intention to release or cut the energetic chord that is feeding each other.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  39. sean in newport beach

    Talking about Palin family MIXED MESSAGES:
    and finally

    May 7, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  40. jb

    First let me say I applaud her for having her baby and not aborting it. It seems that we Americans are confused about moral decisions. There are hundreds of thousands teenagers who have abstained from even in the face of peer pressure. It is insane to use an unwed mother as a spokesperson about abstinence. Bristol has joined the ranks of other teen mothers who wished they had waited. Bristol has not really felt the pressure yet. Why do you people go and talk to other teenagers, (Middle class) who have 4 or 5 year old children. I’m going to be brutally honest with this. Bristol should not be embraced as a poster child. Only a person who is no longer a virgin can say that abstinence is not real. Here is a reality, once young white unwed teenage girls started giving births in records numbers is when teen pregnancy became a national issue, hypocrisy to the highest, and it stinks

    May 7, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  41. Auria

    Bristol is brave to publicly amend her previous statements about abstinence and teen pregnancy–I support her efforts. Will teens follow her advice, that is what really matters.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  42. Debbie

    Will they listen? Hopefully some will. Is she the PERFECT role model? Is that question loaded or what? WHO is the perfect anything?

    May 7, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  43. Jim Monahan

    I don't know if Bristol Palin is the perfect role model or spokesperson for sex education for young teen girls. It's a double edged sword.
    On the one hand, who better to give advice to someone on the pluses and minuses of any issue than someone who has experienced the same problem in their life? It is the way that all people used to learn most of the practical knowledge in their life, from older and wiser parents or mentors. It was called learning from experience and at one time, was honored by all. It was a way of assuring that the younger generation learned the fundamental ways to survive in the most difficult of circumstances and it was how character and integrity were developed.
    On the other hand, it sounds like someone closing the gate after the horses have gotten out of the barn. So, what to do?
    I think Bristol has a lot of courage to take on this topic, mainly becase she is in some way admitting that she made a mistake in judgement and wants to help others gain from her life lesson. She is also overshadowed by her Governor Mom's personality and to me it shows that she is overcoming that personna and developing her own lifes lessons. Hopefully, Bristol will be able to overcome her mom's reputation and be able to impart the wisdom to the audience that she is trying to reach. The question is, will they listen?

    May 7, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  44. a conservative

    Reading the comments posted regarding this issue makes me upset. It seems this forum is being used as just another way of "politicizing" an issue to make Sarah Palin (or any Republican) look bad. My opinion is that all who are finding fault with the Palin family should look into their own lives and clean up their own shortcomings before pointing fingers. Jesus said "He who is without sin, cast the first stone". In today's America, I think there would not be many stones thrown. The morals of this country stink !!! Also, to the thirteen year old who wrote a comment, you should learn to spell correctly before posting anything – by not writing, people will only think you're stupid; by writing, you prove they're right.

    May 7, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  45. Paul Mills

    Bristol Palin is a good voice to talk about teen sex and absentance. Since she is in the media spot light people are paying attention to her. Bristol does have a child she loves, but she and the child would have been in a better situation if she waited a few years later and had been married. She makes a good spokesman for the difficulties of child rearing.

    May 7, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  46. MaryMargaret

    Remember when Sarah Palin told the media to leave her kids alone? Now her daughter is sitting for interviews to tell teens what not to do. She talks about bottles and diapers but nothing about attending high school or doing homework. Here's a little something wrote on the subject to tune of Pink Floyd's The Wall.

    The Palin Family Musical

    We don't need no education
    We don't need no birth control
    No diplomas in the hallway
    Media leave them kids alone
    Hey! Media! leave my kids alone
    All in all they're just another prop from my home

    May 7, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  47. Passerby11

    "Don't have sex," yeah, right, coming from a teenage mom. Who will believe you? And honestly, she's not a good spokesperson to talk about abstinence here. She doesn't even makes sense. Thumbs up for Hayden Panettiere's comment. Peace!!

    May 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  48. Adaorah

    Oh No! I missed Don Lemon this morning.

    May 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  49. Kristina Dulcey-Wang

    As a woman who became pregnant at 15, gave my child up for adoption, went on to earn a Ph.D., and currently work with adolescents in mental health- I have a personal and professional opinion about Bristol Palin's choice to speak out in favor of abstinence only. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing that supports the efficacy of abstinence only education. The only way to truly combat teenage pregnancy is to equip our young men and women with ALL the information, including methods of contraception that prevent pregnancy as well as life altering Sexually Transmitted Infections. As adults, we need to empower adolescents to educate themselves and make informed choices as they grapple with the decision of whether or not to become sexually active. To do anything less is irresponsible and a disservice to our youth.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  50. Kathy

    Easy questions, easier answers: No and No. The early morning talk shows demonstrated exactly how uninformed she still is about both her "cause" and life in general. At the same time, I can't say I'm overly impressed by the baby's father either. At the very least, kissing and telling is tacky.

    The one part of the story i found kind of funny was when the organization that has set up this talk junket said that "they aren't paying Bristol, but are taking care of her expenses and giving her some compensation." I'd love to ask what's the difference between "compensation" and "wages". LOL

    May 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  51. Ignatius Onyejekwe

    NO!. HERE WE GO AGAIN. The Palin family is not a good spokes group for anything, even politics. Here we are talking about abstinence after the fact. What is next- talking about good parenting?. When, they are now raising a child without the Father. My advice to them is to go back to square one. Send this young girl back to school and put their family on the right track first. I am sick and tired of the Palin saga. They should go back to Alaska, relax on the front porch and keep an eye on Russia. That will be most rewarding.

    May 8, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  52. David

    Is it a media tour or a speaking tour? I don't agree with abstinence education so to speak, sex ed was doing ok before the abstinence movment came along, but she's out there in person actually talking to kids about their decisions. That shows interest in others, care and concern, that's moving in the a good direction. Good for her.

    May 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm |

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