An Open Letter to Bristol Palin

Congratulations for your expectant second child! Children give us purpose and hope, stretch our limits, and hopefully teach us to be better people.  You’re already a mom of course, so you know what you are committing to when you choose to continue this pregnancy.

I know you’re being terribly shamed right now, both by people who should be your colleagues and friends, and by people who have been your enemy since you were a teenager.  I’m sorry for that. I felt it on a much smaller and more private scale as a pregnant 22-year-old unmarried Christian woman. I felt stares on my naked ring finger every time I went outside with my obviously pregnant belly. 

I caved to that pressure and married a man I shouldn’t have.  But you didn’t.  Despite all the jeers and click-bait headlines and late night talk show hosts raking your 16-year-old self across the coals and your mother’s active vice presidential campaign,  you didn’t marry that boy. And that gave you a different life than if you had.

Now at 23 you’re expecting again.  What should be a time of joy for you is clouded in disapproval and slut-shaming.  People are calling you a hypocrite for getting pregnant despite your paid work promoting abstinence.  They ignore where you are being consistent with your anti abortion views by continuing pregnancy in circumstances that are less than ideal.

The fact is, the conservative position on sex is contradictory.  Being denied birth control and abortion gives you no hypocrisy-free corner to turn to. You are not the first pregnant unmarried Christian woman and you won’t be the last. Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned.  Teen pregnancy is highest in areas without comprehensive sex education and reliable birth control access

Abstinence fails. Birth control fails. Some will choose to continue pregnancy and some will choose to end it. I’m pro-choice and to me that means welcoming all choices,  including your choice to have another child at this time, with or without a wedding ring. 

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