Tuesday, May 12, 2009

McCain's Daughter Defies the GOP Over Birth Control

Last week in her Daily Beast article "The GOP Doesn't Understand Sex" Meghan McCain, daughter John McCain, took a stand against the Republican abstinence-only approach to sex education and endorsed the use of birth control. She particularly took aim at Bristol Palin, the daughter of her father's former running mate, who with masochistic self-sacrifice to her mother's political ambitions has taken up the abstinence-only cause despite being living proof that it doesn't work.

Meghan McCain writes:
(...) the American public and media remain overly engrossed in our politicians’ sex lives and, as in this case, those of their families. There’s an especially unhealthy attitude among conservatives. Daughters of Republican politicians aren’t expected to have sex, let alone enjoy it—as if there were some strange chastity belt automatically attached to us female offspring. God forbid anyone talk realistically about life experiences and natural, sexual instincts. Nope, the answer is always abstinence. (...)

Here’s what I’ve never understood about the party: its resistance to discussing better access to birth control. As a Republican, I am pro-life. But using birth control and having an abortion are not the same at all. Actually, the best way to prevent abortions is to educate people about birth control and make it widely and easily accessible. True, abstinence is the only way to fully prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Still, the problem with abstinence-only education is that it does not make teenagers and young adults more knowledgeable about all the issues they face if or when they have sex—physically and emotionally.

The key, honestly, is communication between parents and children. At the end of the day, the worst thing parents can do is raise children who are not prepared for the situations they may encounter, especially when they’re not planned. (For anyone who remembers their teen years, you know what I mean.) Unfortunately, Republicans typically don’t like to discuss or deal with things they think are wrong or immoral. And that’s a huge mistake. If we can’t discuss birth control in addition to abstinence, and in a nonjudgmental way, kids will continue to make bad choices for lack of having access to informed, safe options. Not everyone shares the same beliefs, and more importantly, people don’t always react the same way to their circumstances. Which is why it is so important to encourage honest, open communication about the realities of sex within the party at large, and more specifically, between parents and their children.

The entire article is well worth reading. Also worth reading: Susie Bright's response to Meghan McCain on Bright's blog.

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