"Abstinence-Only" Myth Still Has Legs

Another unfortunate entry in the friendly fire column – in a post at Pajamas Media titled “Bristol Palin Proves It: Abstinence Education Is Unrealistic”, Katherine Berry repeated the myth that Governor Palin “staunchly supports abstinence-only education” – using as a source an MSNBC hit piece from shortly after Palin’s VP selection.

As we have pointed out numerous times, this is not Governor Palin’s position. Even the Los Angeles Times admits that:

Palin’s statements date to her 2006 gubernatorial run. In July of that year, she completed a candidate questionnaire that asked, would she support funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs instead of “explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

Palin wrote, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

But in August of that year, Palin was asked during a KTOO radio debate if “explicit” programs include those that discuss condoms. Palin said no and called discussions of condoms “relatively benign.”

“Explicit means explicit,” she said. “No, I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I am not anti-contraception. But, yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don’t have a problem with that. That doesn’t scare me, so it’s something I would support also.”

Now, before you guys get too riled up, I’ve already corresponded with Kate. She graciously thanked me for the correction. I understand how anyone could be taken in by this urban legend – those detractors of the Governor who want to paint her as a theocrat have pushed this meme aggressively, and we’ve seen it crop all over the place. Aggressively fight it wherever you see it, and let us know here if you need the help of the Ordinary Barbarian Horde.

Ms. Berry said that she asked her editor to make a correction, but noted that Pajamas Media seldom makes corrections. We’ll see what happens, and whether we need to contact the muck-a-mucks at PJM to review their editorial policy.

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