I try to keep away from political races on this blog, since the Ethical Society is a religious organization, not a political action committee. But reading about Sarah Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy has brought up so many emotions. I believe in human beings’ right to choose if and when to have children, and if and when to marry, let alone whom to marry. Whatever one might think about this situation, there is no way in which we can regard the decision of the young woman to continue her pregnancy, and her and the father’s decision to marry, as free choices. Her mother is running for Vice President, and on an anti-abortion-rights platform, for heaven’s sake. Talk about a shotgun wedding.

People do have children and get married too young because of accidental pregnancies and yet still manage to have healthy, lasting relationships, but the odds are against it, and I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I’d been forced to have a child at 17 and marry my high school boyfriend, as nice a guy as he was. I’m certainly thankful that my life didn’t turn out that way. So I’m torn–between fury at those who would deny young people sex education, then force them to bear children and marry a person who otherwise they might have broken up with next month, and just sadness for these two young people whose ignorant pleasure has turned their whole lives into political footballs.