The Republican National Committee's 2008 convention draft platform pledges to continue waging the right-wing war on sex education. The platform reads: "We support abstinence education and oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception." These words seem ironic in light of revelations that the 17-year-old daughter of vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, Bristol, was impregnated by her boyfriend.
Republican abstinence-only policies have been disastrous for teens across the country. A 2007 study by the Government Accountability Office found no evidence that the Bush administration's abstinence education programs, including those that have falsely claimed that AIDS can be transmitted through sweat and tears, have demonstrated any effectiveness. Could Bristol Palin have benefited from the sex education and contraceptives the GOP seeks to deny to public school students?
In my latest video, "Juno From Juneau," I probe the GOP reaction to this question on the floor of the Republican National Convention. Republican luminaries including Rep. Roy Blount and John McCain's 20-something daughter, Meghan, tried to elude my line of questioning (Blount complimented Barack Obama's handling of the matter, however). But members of the Alaska delegation were forthright about their enthusiasm for faith-based abstinence-only programs and restricting abortion even in cases of rape and incest. One delegate, Grace Van Diest, told me she is so fervent about abstinence education that her three daughters are only allowed to go on dates with their father, who lectures them on chastity and makes them wear "purity rings" to remind them of their vows to not have sex until marriage.
If Palin moves into the vice president's mansion, she will serve as McCain's liaison to the Christian right, and can be expected to promote the Bush administration's radical social policies with renewed vigor -- even though these policies, and the radical mentality behind them, may have harmed her own family.
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