It's the Sex, Not Bristol Palin's Pregnancy, That Upsets Conservatives

The Christian right is still buzzing positively about Bristol Palin's pregnancy.

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She's not in the news much this week, but Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's pregnant 17-year-old daughter Bristol is still the talk of conservative groups, especially family organizations. And while the buzz is still positive over her decision to have the baby and even marry the 18-year-old father, there's no sympathy for their out-of-wedlock sex that landed both of them in the headlines. The subject was addressed today by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins when he was asked during a media roundtable if he would have been so forgiving if one of Sen. Barack Obama's daughters were to get pregnant. "If Barack Obama's daughter or anybody found themselves in the same position and made that same decision we would give that same response," he says. Actually, he was asked about conservative groups "rallying around" Bristol, to which Perkins says, "The rallying around . . . was in that this is a problem that knows no barrier in our society. It happens to the wealthiest and poorest of families. It is a real problem that we have a teenage pregnancy problem in our society. Now, there are two choices you can make when that happens. You can bring that child to term and have a baby, and give it up for adoption or keep it, or you can abort that child. Obviously, being consistent with what we believe is a true pro-life perspective, is give that child birth."

But, he added, "We were not applauding—I don't think anybody was applauding—the fact that their daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. What they were rallying around is the fact that even though she made a poor choice, she made a good choice in giving that child the right to life. Some will say that that was a political decision that her mom obviously forced her into. The daughter was in her fifth month of pregnancy, so this had nothing to do with being vice president."

Then he focused on teen sex and said that churches and parents have to figure out a better way to help kids understand the implications of it. "The pregnancy is not the problem. The problem is the decision to engage in, as young people who are emotionally unprepared and economically unprepared . . . an activity that can produce another life. There are emotional issues that are attached to that type of behavior," says Perkins. "It is a decision that is going to impact the rest of their life."