AmyTuteurMD

AmyTuteurMD
Bio
Dr. Amy Tuteur is an obstetrician-gynecologist. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Tuteur is a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 3, 2008 8:24AM

Republicans: stop glamorizing teen pregnancy!

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I thought we had reached a new low on the teen pregnancy front when Jamie Lynn Spears announced the impending birth of her baby and I had to explain it to my tween daughter. I wasn’t getting much support for my views and values when Spears was glamorized by being featured prominently on national magazine covers, complete with stories of her dreamy musings on how she was “ready” to become a mother.

As a gynecologist and a mother, I have spent decades counseling young girls to avoid teenage pregnancy. My recommendations always include delaying sexual activity, using contraception, and considering future goals and the way that teen pregnancy tends to make them unachievable. I didn’t expect any help from the entertainment press, but I was surprised nonetheless by how easily Spears' pregnancy was accepted, how her pre-baby planning and purchases were portrayed as normal events for a 16 year old, and how she and her baby appeared on national magazine covers.

Over the years, I’ve become very cynical on the issue of teen pregnancy, but evidently not cynical enough. I could never have imagined that I would be blindsided by the Republican Party glamorizing teen pregnancy.

Sarah Palin claims her teen daughter is currently five months pregnant.  I take leave to doubt that she is pregnant now; it seems far more likely that she was pregnant during the 5 months she disappeared from school prior to the birth of her baby “brother” in April. Be that as it may, Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter did get pregnant sometime within the last year or so.

No family is perfect, poor decisions are made, and children should be loved and supported in their aftermath. Nonetheless, you can call me old fashioned, but I don’t think that being supportive of your child’s poor decisions means proudly parading her on a national stage. I certainly don’t think that being supportive means flying in her teenage boyfriend so he can appear with her in the national limelight. If this isn’t glamorizing teen pregnancy, I don’t know what is.

What are the Republicans thinking? If this child made a mistake, it should be a private, family concern. The child should be allowed to retire from public view. Will that hurt her mother’s image? I don’t know and I don’t care, and if Palin is concerned about her daughter, she shouldn’t care either. Her daughter’s well-being should trump other considerations and her daughter’s well-being is certainly not being served by shoving her onto a national TV stage, beamed live to millions of households around the country.

If the Republicans are the party of family values, they should stop glamorizing teenage pregnancy simply because one of their own has a pregnant teenage daughter. They should leave the daughter out of limelight, and that goes double for the boyfriend. This is a tragedy. Dressing it up and putting it on national TV as if it is perfectly acceptable so long as a shotgun marriage is in the works manages to be both exploitative and hypocritical.

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Small quibble: I would have added one word.

Republicans: stop glamorizing WHITE teen pregnancy!

;~)
ktm:

"Republicans: stop glamorizing WHITE teen pregnancy!"

Right! Or, perhaps: "Republicans: stop glamorizing REPUBLICAN teen pregnancy!"
Bravo, Amy.

I just can't get over how utterly cynical and despicable Palin's misuse of her daughter's "condition" is. This is a kid who (if Palin is to be believed) will shortly be thrust into parenthood with few of the skills she'll need to handle it well. (Like sound judgment, maturity, patience, selflessness, ability to handle stress and lack of sleep, for a short-list example.)

But none of that will matter since--thanks again to her mother--she's now the poster child for "family values."

I say, if Palin truly valued her family, she would have allowed her daughter this "pregnancy" in private.
Leigh Bailey:

"I say, if Palin truly valued her family, she would have allowed her daughter this "pregnancy" in private. "

I agree.

The ultimate irony is that Palin was probably trying to do just that. I happen to think that Trig is Palin's grandson, not her son, and that the origin of this political problem is that Palin was trying to protect her daughter. Obviously, a termination was never under consideration, and Palin didn't want to force her daughter into a teen marriage. So instead she pretended that the baby was hers to allow her daughter to resume her life as a teenager.

She pulled is off in Alaska, and her head was turned when offered the vice presidency. She probably figured it was in the past and no one would find out. She didn't count on the rumors that were already widespread in Alaska being aired among the national press.

There were many things that Palin could have offered as proof that Trig was her son: her prenatal records, her hospital delivery records, the birth certificate, the testimony of the multiple doctors and nurses who surely attended her. Any of these would have put the rumors to rest and kept her daughter out of the limelight.

Even something as simple as a family picture in the hospital immediately after the baby's birth would have been enough. After all, who doesn't have a picture of Mom introducing the new baby to his older siblings? Instead, she claimed that her daughter could not have given birth to Trig because ... because she's pregnant now!

Now Palin and McCain are in way over their heads. The daughter must be paraded before the national media to "show" that she is pregnant. The boyfriend must be paraded before the national media to "show" that they will get married. And because the daughter is not currently pregnant, the next lie in the trail of lies is that she will have a "miscarriage"; hence no baby, no marriage, everyone can just go back to Alaska and carry on as before.

If this scenario is true, Palin has done a terrible thing to her daughter, to McCain and to her party. She lied originally about Trig because she had the best of intentions. When her lie was discovered, she had the opportunity to put her family, her candidate and her party first, and tell the truth. Instead, she chose her ambition and told an even bigger lie.

Now her family, McCain and the Republican Party have fallen in line behind her lie. For the life of me, I cannot understand why McCain has not demanded real medical proof from Palin. His candidacy is on the line here; the Republicans' prospects are on the line here. Only medical proof is sufficient, so why are they failing to demand it for themselves, and display it to the rest of us. Inevitably the truth is going to come out, and it is going to get far uglier than it has already been.
Another brilliant post, Amy. Funny how Bill O'Reilly and his ilk were quick to judge and lament the pregnancy of Jamie Lynn Spears a few months ago (calling her a pinhead and laying blame almost fully on her parents)- but now decry the "liberal" media asking questions about Bristol Palin's "family problem."
Kirs:

"Funny how Bill O'Reilly and his ilk were quick to judge and lament the pregnancy of Jamie Lynn Spears a few months ago "

O'Reilly was incredibly harsh. Here are his exact words from his show on Thursday, December 20, 2007:

"On the pinhead front, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The sister of Britney says she is shocked. I bet.

Now most teens are pinheads in some ways. But here the blame falls primarily on the parents of the girl, who obviously have little control over her or even over Britney Spears. Look at the way she behaves.

And by the way, the mother, Lynne Spears, has reportedly already sold pictures of the upcoming baby of her 16-year-old for a million bucks. Incredible pinhead."

Here's what's currently appearing on his O'Reilly Factor webpage in regard to Palin's daughter:

"Millions of American families are dealing with teenage pregnancy. And as long as society doesn't have to support the mother, father or baby, it is a personal matter. Once the taxpayers do have to support the young family, it becomes a public policy matter."

Hmmm. I'm confused, if "once the taxpayers do not have to support the young family, it is a personal matter", why did O'Reilly refer to Jamie Lynn Spears mother as a pinhead? And if exploiting a pregnant teenage daughter makes Lynne Spears a "pinhead", what does it make Sarah Palin? Based on O'Reilly's logic, Palin is a "pinhead", too.
Well said Amy. As a family therapist, I help parents make the important distinctions between supportive of their children without being supportive of their behaviors.

It's the fine line of when your children are teenagers. You do not want them to drink, but you especially do not want them to drink and drive. So you tell me that while you don't support them drinking, you are not naive and support them as human beings and you want them to stay alive. This does not mean that you supply the alcohol!

I have daughters aged 20 and 23. They are not married. One of them has a wonderful boyfriend (the younger one). If she came to me now, in her 3rd year in college, and told me she was pregnant and wanted to have the baby, I would be supportive of her and her decision (after a very long talk).

But what I would not be doing is jumping up and down screaming for joy, and saying, "I'm so excited to be a grandparent".

I'd be having a major SIT DOWN with her and boyfriend and talk to them about the harsh realities of what their lives were about to become.
There were many things that Palin could have offered as proof that Trig was her son: her prenatal records, her hospital delivery records, the birth certificate, the testimony of the multiple doctors and nurses who surely attended her. Any of these would have put the rumors to rest and kept her daughter out of the limelight.

Hear, hear. Obviously, I agree completely and really, really think there's something very rotten in Denmark. (Come to think of it, the whole thing is sort of Shakespearean, isn't it?)

If Trig is Palin's child, Bristol's pregnancy is irrelevant. It SHOULD be irrelevant, it should be private, it should be for Bristol to disclose or not as she sees fit. (Once a minor becomes pregnant, I think she is automatically emancipated, but I could be wrong there.)

But I, like you, don't think Palin is Trig's mother. If there were medical records to prove it, the McCain campaign could have put the kabosh on this whole rumor mill with one fell swoop. End of discussion. They didn't, and that's telling.

Also interesting, though I have searched and searched and searched, I can find only one Internet posting that predates the Kos piece that calls Palin's pregnancy into question. (And I've spent days searching.)

Clearly, the author of the Kos piece got his information from this site, but that information is only a few hours older than the Kos posting.

So while the rumor mill might have been grinding away in Alaska, it hadn't spilled down into the lower 48 yet. The McCain camp's assertion that there was any kind of "campaign" afoot is disingenuos.

As near as I can tell, the flap began on Saturday afternoon and by Monday morning, Palin had decided to make her announcement. Sounds to me like someone, somewhere told her, "If you can't prove this isn't true, you better come up with something FAST that will shut this thing down now, before it gets completely out of hand."

And out comes the Bristol revelation.

Fishy, fishy fishy.
marytkelly:

"As a family therapist, I help parents make the important distinctions between supportive of their children without being supportive of their behaviors."

Exactly, and that's a really difficult task for any parent to accomplish.

Maybe I am being naive (it wouldn't be the first time), but I like to think that Palin was trying to do that at first. She was trying to support her daughter by pretending that Trig was her baby and not her daughter's baby. She was trying to be supportive by heading straight back to Alaska and her daughter when she got word of the impending birth (hence the flight home instead of the trip to the hospital when "her" membranes ruptured).

Now, though, in an effort to hang on to a political plum, she has thrown her daughter under the proverbial bus. Parading her around on national TV? Dragging the boyfriend down from Alaska to parade him on national TV? Why is she sacrificing the well-being of these children on the altar of her ambition? And why is John McCain and the Republican Party letting her do it?
And, although I can't swear to the timeline, it would appear that the fake pregnancy, if that is what occurred, happened about the same time that Desperate Housewives was running an almost identical storyline.

It was very odd the other night to have an episode dealing with it playing in the background while I was online reading posts & comments about the fake-pregnancy rumors... and the new 5-month pregnancy.
I am glad that a medical professional is skeptical about this story. Personally, I think that the pregnancy (of either woman) is attractive to the GOP because they have been floating that anti-abortion/anti-sex ed/anti- contraception story so long... that they have created a subtext that pregnancy is desirable. Fecundity, good. And having arguably the most powerful woman on the Earth be pregnant, well, that's a Stepford wife on high.

So, maybe Bristol is or isn't. That's not the story to be afraid of. It's the pregnant business woman narrative that they're selling us, just before they kill Roe v. Wade.
Amy,

If your theory is true and Palin was "being supportive" of her daughter by covering up for her and saying that she had the baby herself, this was her first parental mistake.

There is nothing admirable or parental about covering up for your child or lying for your child, especially when it comes to the baby, who is guaranteed to need lots of future therapy.

This baby story is so strange, it belongs on the cover of National Inquirer.

As for parading the daughter around with the reluctant boyfriend (the one who on "My Space" said he doesn't want kids), as far as I'm concerned, it's parental abuse.
marytkelly:

"As for parading the daughter around with the reluctant boyfriend (the one who on "My Space" said he doesn't want kids), as far as I'm concerned, it's parental abuse."

Absolutely!

But it continues to get even wackier: John McCain actually went out to the airport to personally greet the daughter's boyfriend!

Let's see: get your teenage girlfriend pregnant, get forced into a shotgun wedding, and ... John McCain comes to the airport to greet you (on national television, no less). MSNBC is fronting the story right now, complete with video.

Even Jamie Lynn Spears' boyfriend didn't get to meet the Republican presidentially candidate. What has this teenage boy done to deserve a public embrace by John McCain? His only claim to fame is that he impregnated Sarah Palin's teenage daughter. Someone please explain to me why they are glamorizing teen pregnancy in this way.
Someone please explain to me why they are glamorizing teen pregnancy in this way.

Easy-peasy.

See that woman behind the curtain there? DON'T LOOK AT HER!
All I read are these rumors and I'm very skeptical that Palin was able to cover up her daughter's pregnancy and pass it off as her own.

Is it just gossip or are there facts to the case?
Interesting conspiracy theory but Palin lives in a small town and I would think everyone would have known. I don't think the Republicans are glamorizing teen pregancy but they sure are doing a good job of rationalizing it. Palin actually said she admired her daughter? Geez, where have our standards gone in this country?
I'm glad to see that there are physicians who are still questioning the original story about Trig.

When I first heard about the story in the Daily Kos, I figured it was written by some nut job conspiracy theorist who believed that Elvis was still alive. Then I read the story . . . . there are so many things that just don't make sense, either separately or together.

I'm not a physician, but I worked for a hospital for 21 years. With any hospital admission there is a huge volume of documentation generated, from the medical to the mundane. The patient would be billed for a vaginal delivery pack, and other related supplies. There would be a bill sent to the insurance company, and an appropriate insurance payment. There would be lab tests, an admission record, a number of medical records. The patient would show up on the nightly census. There would be CNAs, RNs, unit secretaries, and housekeepers who would have known that the Governor of Alaska was a patient.

A hospital admission with a live birth for even an ordinary person would result in large number of witnesses and documents. There would be absolutely no doubt whatsoever that a birth had occurred. There would be more direct evidence and witnesses related to that birth than there was with the Kennedy assassination in Dallas. For anyone to suggest that such a birth had not occurred would be a joke, easily refuted in about 15 seconds.

As far as I know, none of that has been presented. and it's fair to ask why it has not.
It would be more likely that an older mother with have a child with Down's Syndrome than a 17 year old wouldn't it?
Typo: would have a child
Great post, Amy - O'Reilly's hypocrisy is jaw dropping. It is really sad that this girl is going through a marriage at age 17, in all probability compounding one mistake with another, just to maintain the veneer of traditional family values. Teen pregnancy is not great, but it can be dealt with. A mistake is just that - a mistake. There should be no shaming involved, no shame at all in Bristol admitting she is pregnant and having the child and raising it. But the opposite of shame is not celebration. And avoidance of shame should not lead to the compounding of the error with another, even more permanent one (marriage is assumed to be forever, after all - childhood dependency is only 18 years).

This is not a happy occasion, but one for reflection on how this mistake is all-too common, and what we as a country can do to avert it.
Not necessarily. 80% of Down syndrom kids are born to women UNDER 35, as the disorder is not routinely tested for in younger mothers.

If Palin had carried Trig, she knew he had Down syndrome. Which meant she knew this was considered a high-risk delivery. Which begs the question why she waited 22 hours to check into a hospital and delivery him.
Alex Ricciuti:

"Is it just gossip or are there facts to the case? "

The story originally appeared on DailyKos:

1. The announcement of the pregnancy as reported in the Anchorage Daily News (http://www.adn.com/front/story/336402.html):

Secret's out: Palin pregnant (03/06/08)

SEVEN MONTHS ALONG: Even her staff was unaware that the first family was expecting a fifth child.

JUNEAU -- Gov. Sarah Palin shocked and awed just about everybody around the Capitol on Wednesday when she announced she's expecting her fifth child.

The governor, who recently turned 44, told a handful of reporters as she was leaving work to expect a new member of the first family, then headed to a reception at the Baranof Hotel to feast on king crab.

Palin said she's already about seven months along, with the baby due to arrive in mid-May.

That the pregnancy is so advanced astonished all who heard the news. The governor, a runner who's always been trim, simply doesn't look pregnant.

Even close members of her staff said they only learned this week their boss was expecting...

"Really? No!" said Bethel state Rep. Mary Nelson, who is close to giving birth herself.

"It's wonderful. She's very well-disguised," said Senate President Lyda Green, a mother of three who has sometimes sparred with Palin politically. "When I was five months pregnant, there was absolutely no question that I was with child."

2. From DailyKos:

" On Friday, April 18th, 2008, Sarah and her husband Todd were in Dallas, Texas for a Republican Governor's Convention. They had been in town for three days already, but Sarah had yet to give her keynote speaker address on energy policy. Then early Friday morning at 4:00am, Sarah began leaking amniotic fluid. Instead of checking into a hospital, she instead made a call to her doctor, and delivered the keynote speech...

The oddities only grow from here on, as instead of rushing to a Dallas medical facility that could treat a mother who's amniotic fluid has been draining for hours on end (made even more crucial due to the fact that this is occurring a full month prematurely), Sarah & Todd instead opted to... Fly all the way back from Texas to Alaska. A dangerous choice, as with each pregnancy (once again, in this case after four previous), a mother's window of labor to delivery grows shorter and shorter.

Aboard Alaska Airlines, the flight lasted for eight hours, with an additional landing in Seattle. The majority of commercial airlines require mothers seven months pregnant to provide a doctor's letter to fly, but Sarah did not inform the airline of her condition. Alaska Airlines is one of the few airlines that do not require such a notice, despite the possibility of an emergency landings being required in such scenarios. That said, no one on board noticed that Sarah was going into labor...

The plane then made a landing in Anchorage, Alaska. Does Sarah then visit a medical facility that can accommodate a premature birth in Alaska's most equipped city? No. She drives 45 minutes away, to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, right outside the small village she used to govern as Mayor, Wasilla. Trig Palin is then delivered one month premature, Friday night..."

3. Also from Daily Kos:

"Checking with the Anchorage High School that Bristol Palin attended, reporters were given word that her family had taken Bristol out of school due to contracting infectious mononucleosis. The amount of time Bristol was absent shifts from five to eight months.

Mono can last anywhere from two weeks to three months, but an eight month infection is a freak oddity."

4. The doctor who delivered the baby is a not an obstetrician, but a family practice physician and a personal friend of Palin's. Palin nominated her for a state award for the doctor's work on child sexual abuse.

5. The hospital where the baby was born routinely announces births in the community, but has no announcement of Trig's birth.

6. The doctor's name has been scrubbed from the hospital's website, and the doctor has disappeared.

7. No one has been willing to present prenatal records, hospital records, or a birth certificate.

8. There aren't even any pictures of the happy family gathered around Mom in the hospital. Circumstantial, I know, but who doesn't have pictures of Mom holding the new baby in her hospital bed and introducing the baby to his siblings?

The revelation of the daughter's "current" pregnancy came out only to quash rumors that Trig is Palin's grandson. There were many ways that Palin could have quashed those rumors without involving her daughter: office records, hospital records, birth certificate, interview with the doctor, interview with other hospital personnel, pictures in the immediate hours after birth. Yet Palin did not present any of those. Instead she insisted that her daughter could not have been pregnant with Trig because ... because she's pregnant now! Of course, that's a claim that no one can verify, nor did she present any information that would confirm it.
Black Bart:

"It would be more likely that an older mother to have a child with Down's Syndrome than a 17 year old wouldn't it?"

That's right, but so many more children are born to women under 35 than over 35 that, according to the National Association for Down Syndrome, 80% of children with Down Syndrome are born to women under 35.
If John McCain going to the airport to greet the reluctant boyfriend isn't glamorizing teen pregnancy, I don't know what is.

BTW, we will all be relieved to know that Jamie Spears, a new mother at 16, sent Bristol a baby present and a note of congratulations.

Word!
Well, the story from the Anchorage Daily News appears credible but I don't like to get my news from a blog. I'll wait until a legitimate news organization follows up on it.

(I work as a reporter and I know how badly even journalists get things wrong sometimes. So my skepticism is relentless.)

If this is true then it should hit the media soon -- they're always slow on these things so that's not a cause of my skepticism. But I just can't fathom how someone pulls off a fake pregnancy like that.

You're a doctor, a scientist, you rely on provable facts. I'll believe it more readily when I see more evidence.
Good points all, this is beginning to make me even more ill. If its true it's incredible hypocrisy for the sake of political expediency.
Alex, I think your journalistic skepticism is absolutely fair.

But to get to the truth, a journalist is going to have to ask the question: Why, rather than produce any kind of documentation to your own maternity of Trig, did you refute two days of Internet rumors with the irrelevant announcement of your daughter's pregnancy?

And are you now willing to provide documentation that will put the rumors to rest?
Alex Ricciuti:

"Well, the story from the Anchorage Daily News appears credible but I don't like to get my news from a blog. I'll wait until a legitimate news organization follows up on it."

Of course. We don't really know what is going on, until someone comes up with some documentation or someone who was directly involved in the birth tells what happened. But my experience is just like that of mishima666: "A hospital admission with a live birth for even an ordinary person would result in large number of witnesses and documents. There would be absolutely no doubt whatsoever that a birth had occurred." So where are all the people? Where is all the paperwork? Most importantly, where is the doctor?
Great post, Doctor. I just wish the girl and her baby well. She's in such a mess and the Republicans are trying to put a nice shine on what everyone knows is an incredibly difficult situation for this girl. Parading her in front of the country as some kind of ideal is shameful.
Ai yai yaiii....

Now the Huffington Post is reporting that the National Enquirer is working on a story about Sarah Palin having an affair with her husband's business partner.
Well written.
I never liked the way she only highlighted traits of her 2 newsmaking children; the boys. You know, 1 is All American, he's joined the Army on the very day of our anniversary for being attacked, 9/11, that makes his signing up EXTRA Patriotic.

And the poor little down syndrome baby. How sad that they will use his disease/affliction (I don't know how you want me to refer to it to not be offensive) as proof that she is soooooo compassionate and stands up for the "rights" of every child and whatever. And the even sadder thing is, Trig will never understand that his very existance was meant to further his mother's political career.

And S.Palin NEVER EVER mentioned any keynote, tokens, highlights about any of her 3 daughters in her initial introduction. Because I guess in her political mind her daughters had nothing to add to the ticket? Ya get what I'm saying?

The ONLY reason they came out about Bristol Farms' pregnancy is to falsely "embrace" their family values in the public spectrum. Like we can't see through that shotgun wedding.
Cheri_Noir:

"The ONLY reason they came out about Bristol Farms' pregnancy is to falsely "embrace" their family values in the public spectrum."

What is so bizarre is that Palin is only paying lip service to "family values". You'd think the family values crowd would be angry that she is not living her values, but instead they embrace her.

It just shows that this is not about values at all. "Family values" is just code for "us vs. them" and she's made it clear that she is on their side. How she actually lives her life, and whether she actually promotes the values that she, and they, claim to revere is immaterial.
Now the Huffington Post is reporting that the National Enquirer is working on a story about Sarah Palin having an affair with her husband's business partner.

Well, at least we know they are equal-opportunity sleeze bags. Be interesting to see how the GOP spins THAT.
Was anyone else as surprised as I was to see "Levi," the impregnator of Bristol Palin, sharing the stage with the Republican ticket last night even as the campaign asked the press to "respect the privacy" of the young couple?

By the way, the original articles on DailyKos that seem to have ignited the controversy over Trig's maternity have disapeared. But you can find copies here:
http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/7969
Cleo Jones:

"This is just a horrible example to set for teens. I am deeply troubled that this teen pregnancy has been so 'celebrated'."

It is absolutely mind boggling. It is also instructive. The Republicans don't care about teen pregnancy enough to be ashamed that their own vice-presidential candidate is proudly parading her pregnant teenage daughter in front of the nation. It is just another issue used to reinforce the "us vs. them" mentality.

John McCain has sold his soul. Imagine: a 72 year old genuine war hero rushing to the airport to embrace a teenager boy whose only claim to fame is that he accidentally impregnated his running mate's daughter.
From Parikh's column on Salon. Sounds different than 80% of kids with Down's syndrome are born to women under 35. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

As most would-be parents know by now, having a baby over the age of 40 greatly increases the risk that the child will be born with Down syndrome. The estimated risk of having a child with Down syndrome is 1 in 1,300 for a 25-year-old woman. At age 35, the risk increases to 1 in 365. At age 45, the risk increases to 1 in 30.
Rumormongers could latch onto the fact that teens from the ages of 15 to 19 have given birth to Down syndrome babies at a higher rate than mothers in their early 20s. But it is not a substantial rate.
With all due respect, Doctor, the Republicans are not glamorizing teen sex! This is a product of the pop culture that exists today and has for some time, which surrounds our young daughters and sons through music, videos, commercials, fashion design, TV, magazines, etc.
No one can speak for all Republicans or Democrats and the issue here is a belief by millions that life trumps any convenient disposal of an unborn child, whether to a teen or a woman of any age who chooses not to take responsibility for the actions or choices they dare not accept. No political party is responsible for the glamorization of teen pregnancy. Individuals and business owners that push sexual content to our youth for profit in a variety of media forms, are responsible. And ultimately, it is no political party's place to teach our children the family values that parents should instill in them, according to their personal beliefs.

I am the proud mother of three grown daughters and have never once allowed any political beliefs or affiliation, to influence my ability to guide, teach, parent and love my children.
Cathy Gast Feroe:

"the Republicans are not glamorizing teen sex! This is a product of the pop culture that exists today and has for some time, which surrounds our young daughters and sons through music, videos, commercials, fashion design, TV, magazines, etc."

Pop culture does glamorize teen sex, but that does not absolve the Republicans from responsibility for doing the same thing. Parading Palin's daughter in front of a national TV audience glamorizes her pregnancy. In case, anyone was unclear on that point, they flew in her boyfriend, whose only claim to fame is that he had teen sex with Palin's daughter.

"the issue here is a belief by millions that life trumps any convenient disposal of an unborn child, whether to a teen or a woman of any age who chooses not to take responsibility for the actions or choices they dare not accept."

I disagree. Abortion only becomes an issue AFTER teens have sex. It only becomes an issue as a result of the fact that teens have sex. Choosing to give birth to an unplanned child may be a better alternative than abortion in the minds of anti-abortion advocates, but we can all agree that it is still a lousy alternative to refraining from sex in the first place.

"And ultimately, it is no political party's place to teach our children the family values that parents should instill in them, according to their personal beliefs."

Absolutely! That's why there should be strict separation of Church and State, why there is no place for prayer in public schools and no place for religious fabrications like creationism in public schools, either.