THIS WEEK’S SYNDICATED COLUMN:
BRISTOL DID THE WRONG THING

Abortion Should Be Mandatory for Pregnant Teens

You don’t need a rich imagination to picture the scene. In the Alaska governor’s mansion, a pair of parents and their visibly pregnant teenage daughter sit on a dead bear sprawled across a couch they had to have shipped because there isn’t an Ethan Allen in Anchorage. On a second sofa, on the opposite side of a glass coffee table festooned by the exoskeleton of a giant crab, fidget a second set of parents and their son, a.k.a. The Extremely Nervous Boyfriend. Heads of dead animals line the walls.

“Levi, Levi, Levi.” The governor pauses, reveling in the others’ discomfort. Moments like this are how she earned the sobriquet Barracuda.

She leans in. “You little s—. You knocked up my daughter. Do you know how close your little sexcapade came to screwing up my plan for global domination? Now you’re going to do the right thing.”

A few days later, Extremely Nervous Boyfriend blinks under the bright lights of a stage in St. Paul, elevated to the even more challenging role of America’s Unhappiest 18-Year-Old. I met a guy the night before he was executed. Levi Johnston had the same look in his eyes.

Sarracuda’s 17-year-old fry was nearly as miserable. “Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby,” the McCain-Palin campaign claimed in its press release. Did the daughter of the mother of all anti-choice governors really have a choice? Well…

By pro-life standards, Sarracuda is an extremist. Parting ways with five out of six Americans, she’s against abortion even in cases of rape and incest. For Bristol, doing the “right thing”–carrying the baby to term, getting married, being paraded across 37 million TV sets–was the path of least resistance.

In reality, Bristol is doing the wrong thing. She’s having the kid. She’s marrying the father. Three lives will likely be destroyed.

Even pro-choice liberals are afraid to speak the truth: teen marriage and parenthood are disasters for everyone concerned. I have serious problems with well-off married couples who decide to terminate their pregnancies for frivolous reasons. Conversely, abortion ought to be mandatory for people under 18. Twenty-five would be better. Teen marriage should be banned.

Anyone who went to high school knew a student couple where the girl became pregnant. What the unlucky couple decided to do about it would determine their future. The girls who had abortions went on with their lives. They graduated from high school and, if they were headed that way before the dipstick turned pink, continued with college and careers and all the other stuff young people are supposed to go on to do.

Then there were the girls who kept their babies. With few exceptions–I’ve never heard of any, but I imagine they exist–it was the wrong decision. Their lives were ruined.

Many never graduated from high school, much less college. Their futures were grim: low educational attainment doomed them to dead-end jobs in the low-wage service sector. Married too young and under pressure, most wound up divorced. Many never remarried, or married stepfathers who barely tolerated their children. Their kids, raised in poverty in families led by single, stressed-out young moms, were themselves likely to repeat the cycle of downward mobility by getting pregnant in their teens.

Obviously, there are exceptions: teen pregnancies leading to lifelong partnerships with high school sweethearts, loving stepparents, daughters of 15-year-old parents making $1 million a year. But in most cases, studies confirm the anecdotal evidence.

Having kids and getting married too young are a prescription for unhappiness.
Teen moms are more than twice as likely to drop out of high school. “The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy reports that less than 40 percent of women who have a child before the age of 18 will graduate from high school, compared to a high school graduate rate of 75 percent for those who delay parenthood until their early twenties,” law professors June Carbone and Noami Cahn wrote in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Teen brides are ten times more likely to plunge into poverty. In 2005 University of Rochester economist Gordon Dahl found that “that a woman who marries young is 28 percentage points more likely to live in poverty when she is older.” A 1993 study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation determined that only 8 percent of women who finished high school, married before having a child, and married after age 20 became poor. 79 percent of women who didn’t do these things wound up poor.

As the daughter of a possible future president, Bristol Palin probably won’t be poor. (Although prominent figures, like Bill Cosby and Alan Keyes, do disown their children.) Even setting aside Levi’s famous MySpace page (“I don’t want kids”), his pending marriage to Bristol is probably doomed.

When teenage girls become pregnant, eight out of 10 of the fathers never marry them. One can hardly blame the runaway grooms, considering the probable outcomes. A 2002 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that 59 percent of couples who marry before age 18 split up within 15 years. But waiting a few years markedly increases a marriage’s odds: 64 percent of couples who get hitched after age 20 are still married 15 years later.

I’ll say it again: There are exceptions to every rule. Guys smoke two packs a day and live be to be 100. I’ve driven 115 miles per hour and I’m still here. But neither smoking nor speeding are smart choices. One should be illegal; the other is. Society sets rules and regulations and laws to cover common situations and typical outcomes. On the matter of teen pregnancy and marriage, the typical outcome is terrible.

Those who keep silent about Levi and Bristol’s bad decisions–especially those marketing them as examples to be emulated–are doing society a disservice. Levi and Bristol are about to compound one tragedy (unplanned teen pregnancy) with another (involuntary marriage). They’re setting a terrible example for other teenagers who will find themselves in their situation.

Congress should act to protect these kids from themselves–ban teen marriage, mandate teen abortion.

(Ted Rall is the author of the book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.)

COPYRIGHT 2008 TED RALL

64 Responses to “”

  1. Susan Stark Says:

    If I was Levi Johnson, I would disappear. Seriously.

    Change your name, grow a beard, work on the high seas, become a nomad. Anything is better than having that pit-bull with lipstick for a mother-in-law.

    Fuck “responsibility”. You cannot be a good father until you are a good man.

  2. SDS Says:

    Although I dispute a lot of the stats in here (causation vs. correlation; I imagine systematic poverty will assure that many women will remain poor regardless of decisions), the premise is right on. We are a stupid society to celebrate the marriage of 18 year olds. It’s great: Drunk, abusive, young, and educated? We’ll stand at your wedding! Loving, educated, and planning for a family? Oh, you’re gay? Nothing for you. Family values.

  3. Susan Stark Says:

    Seriously, Levi. Disappear. Go underground. Work for cash. Anything.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    “Congress should act to protect these kids from themselves–ban teen marriage, mandate teen abortion.”

    That’s quite a modest proposal you’ve got there.

  5. Incitatus Says:

    Ted,

    I may live in a parallel world but I know quite a few girls that were teenage or early 20s mothers and both them and the child are doing OK. The guy is gone, though, or the relationship is but a facade that only those intimate with the situation know about.

    Conversely, the only girl I know of that underwent the “procedure”, which isn’t legal in most cases where we live, is tormented to this day by the memory of her action and has a life in shambles, barely finishing one college (out of three attended), not being able to sustain a career or a relationship and still living with a parent, in her mid 30s.

    Point is, anecdotal evidence may not be good for much, but what really makes the difference is: having a support system (which all of them had) and facing tough times with courage (not an easy thing to ask from a teenage girl). Hiding it under the proverbial rug (which is what abortion on demand is all about) doesn’t always help.

  6. Incitatus Says:

    BTW, the bailout of two crooked money-sinks, to the benefit of wealthy investors and to the detriment of taxpayers, gets bipartisan applause – just like more war in the Middle East – and you folks are determined to fall for the abortion trap?
    Like I read somewhere, the Democrats seem bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory…

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Hmm, I’m wondering what Ted thinks of the Trig speculation. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but there are A LOT of red flags on that one.

  8. Sean Says:

    Well that’s a very liberal position, in a fascist totalitarian sort of way.

  9. nietzchuck Says:

    It’s not pretty, and it’s not PC, but dammit someone needed to say it. I salute you, Ted. Hell, I’m still in favor of forced (but reversible) sterilization at child-bearing age.

    Sarracuda loves to say her daughter made the right choice, but I would underline the word “choice” in that sentence. She wants to make her daughters choice mandatory for everyone else. That, I take issue with.

    Side note, has anyone else noticed hollywood jumping on the anti-abortion bandwagon? Between Juno, Knocked Up, and the rest of that ilk, they’re telling an entire generation of adolescents “If you get pregnant unexpectedly, keep the baby and all of your dreams will come true.” Unfortunately, life is more often a tragicomedy than a romantic comedy.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Ted-
    I swear I read a few years ago that you were pro-life (in an article bringing up the fact that you hold some unconventional non-liberal positions–such as anti-gun control etc).
    Did you change your mind, or did I completely imagine this?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Ted, Ted, Ted – You don’t go anywhere near far enough. Mandate abortion for anyone who can’t prove they’re fiscally and psychologically ready for a child. Don’t limit it to just teens.

  12. Ted Rall Says:

    I believe women have the legal right to murder their unborn babies. Life begins at conception, and abortion is therefore murder, but society may not force women to bear children. I won’t pretend that fetuses are lumps of flesh, as do many pro-choicers, but I refuse to add to women’s already formidable oppression.

    As for the Trig speculation, I agree–the official story doesn’t hold as much water as one would like. Still waiting for solid, definitive proof, though.

  13. G. M. Palmer Says:

    Whatever happened to adoption?

    Juno, btw, was about adoption, not “keeping the baby.”

  14. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Sorry Ted. Usually I say a big “Amen” to what you write, but I’m not too sympathetic to Levi. I’ve known several guys who got their girlfriends knocked up because they’d rather spend their last $1.50 on a pack of smokes than a pack of rubbers.

    That dumb fuck should have taken himself to the corner drugstore and bought some Trojans.

    When I was in my early teens, my mother gave me and my brother a lecture about something called “Child Support.” She made it clear to us that if either of us got a girl pregnant, and the girl decided to keep the baby, that she was going to make sure we did whatever was necessary to provide for that child.

    I’m not saying I saved myself for marriage, but I was a lot more careful than many of my contemporaries. Even in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, the prevailing view of most teenage guys was “the dumb chick got pregnant, it’s her problem.”

    Because of lax enforcement of child support laws, there are still too many guys with that opinion.

    I agree with you, Ted. I think if Bristol were smart, she should opt for an abortion.

    But that’s her choice. To have or not have an abortion should be the woman’s choice. I may not like Sarah Palin much, but thank God Bristol has a mother who has the resources to make sure her grandchild’s father takes care of his kid!

    As it is, I’ve known too many young women left to raise a child by themselves because the father doesn’t want to contribute to the child’s upbringing. Yes, we have laws regarding child support, but they are pretty toothless.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    One problem with the “life begins at conception” argument:

    Identical twins are formed after conception.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    The most conservative author I have ever read and a fairly well thought columnist, George Will has the following maxim’s for avoiding poverty:

    “He might, however, care to note three not-at-all recondite rules for avoiding poverty: Graduate from high school, don’t have a baby until you are married, don’t marry while you are a teenager. Among people who obey those rules, poverty is minimal.”

    The above was taken from Will’s 2005 Washington Post column refuting Senator Obama’s “new liberalism”. The same column by George Will had the following paragraph (word for word) in a discussion about Katrina and work in New Orleans to rebuild:

    “Given that most African Americans are middle class and almost half live outside central cities, and that 76 percent of all births to Louisiana African Americans were to unmarried women, it is a safe surmise that more than 80 percent of African American births in inner-city New Orleans — as in some other inner cities — were to women without husbands. That translates into a large and constantly renewed cohort of lightly parented adolescent males, and that translates into chaos in neighborhoods and schools, come rain or come shine.”

    Of course life (good or bad) is not always about economics. Society, more often than not, is about economics and we live in a pretty big society. The difficulty is the resolution of conservative absolutes with reality. Life would be great if teenagers all just worked really hard and were polite and didn’t have sex wouldn’t it?

    What does Palin’s daughter do if she is the child of family making 30 grand a year with no health insurance? Rather than flitting around the country on a luxury jet for glowing speeches behind the beehive and probably being checked out at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Is that decision to raise the baby herself such an easy one?

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Where is the male “pill”????

  18. Aggie Dude Says:

    A central point differentiating ideologically driven policy and pragmatically driven policy is the relationship between action and reality. Some of the most ideologically driven people I've ever met are the same ones who constantly blast others for not living in the "real world."

    They're correct in some respect. Other people don't live in THEIR world, because cognition is substantially about social environment -that means the sensory inputs to your brain heavily influence how you view the world around you. They create your reality.

    That may seem simple enough for people to grasp, until one is forced to apply it to the evaluation of competence, and realize that people like George W Bush, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, etc, exist within exceedingly narrow worlds.

    In those worlds, they simply can't recognize that others have different experiences and live different realities, and because of that, they don't see a problem with absolutist policies.

    These people talk about individual responsibility and individual freedom (personal privacy), but their actions in policy seek to deprive all others of those qualities.

    Until Americans as a whole can start to recognize what's really going on, we're f&cked, more and more each year.

    The worst part of it is, there's no alternative.

  19. nietzchuck Says:

    Aggie, well said. Couldn’t agree more.
    Hand2Hand, I agree on the choice issue, and would concede the mandatory abortion point entirely to you if abortion were allowed to be socially acceptable (thus, my issue with Juno), but it still isn’t. I disagree, however, with your child support comment- the statistics overwhelming point the other way – a vast majority of unwed fathers pay the court-determined amount of support on time, every time. Hell, most states won’t give single mothers state aid (food stamps, wic, tanf, etc) unless she is already receiving child support (which they will enforce for her, free of charge). If anything, the system still views unwed fathers as having the ‘dumb chick, not my problem mentality’ when the reality is far different.

    Similarly, interview as many single mothers in Section 8 / HUD housing as you can find; you’ll be amazed how many ‘miracle’ babies there are. Upon further questioning you’ll hear things like “because I was on the pill. I mean, I’d miss it for a week or so every now and again, but I took it, like, almost every time.” The system is broken, and more often than not it’s the single fathers that fall through the cracks.

    To echo an earlier comment, where the hell is the male birth control pill?!

  20. Anonymous Says:

    yes and the state should execute the physically handicapped and mentally infirm because they are a drain on society’s assets

  21. Maxwell Says:

    Smoking should be illegal? Sure, let’s expand the drug war!

  22. Edward Says:

    But the entertainment value of the Bristol/Levi reality show (wait – wait, mTV, I thought of it first) will be all of the “shock and awe” you can possibly imagine.

    The up front lock in payment will toootttalllly outway those silly emotional costs the Palin family will pay.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Amsterdam has made tobacco smoking illegal. Larffffff!!!!!

  24. Aggie Dude Says:

    Ted’s modest proposal is merely the opposite extreme of Palin’s views on abortion really. What it demonstrates is how extreme she is. . .she’s no less extreme than the Taliban really, and real Americans ought to call her out on it.

    It’s unconstitutional, it’s crazy, and if she wants a theocracy she should move her ass to Saudi Arabia.

  25. Jason Says:

    Ted, I really don’t know how you can call abortion “murder” while arguing that it should be mandatory for pregnant teens. In fact, your claim that “women have the legal right to murder their unborn babies” is a complete logical contradiction, as murder is, by definition, the unlawful killing of a person.

    But more to the point, while I’m pro-choice myself, I’m inclined to doubt that, if I were a woman and had an unwanted pregnancy, I would be able to terminate it without emotionally-scarring guilt. This, mind you, is coming from an atheist who doesn’t believe fetuses are full human beings with souls. I can’t even imagine how traumatic it would be for a pro-life, religious young woman to have her unborn child–in her mind every bit as legitimate a human being as herself–murdered by the government to which she pledges allegiance. Is it not likely that such an experience would be at least as damaging as the social costs of having the child?

    Moreover, as g.m. palmer noted, there’s always adoption. Assuming the availability of loving, stable and trustworthy adoptive parents, this option is pretty much ideal for cases like the above mentioned, assuming it’s possible for the girl to pick up where she left off in school. I’m not entirely certain how the latter issue plays out in reality, but I would think it would be possible in most cases.

  26. k Says:

    ted wrote:

    “I believe women have the legal right to murder their unborn babies. Life begins at conception, and abortion is therefore murder, but society may not force women to bear children. I won’t pretend that fetuses are lumps of flesh, as do many pro-choicers, but I refuse to add to women’s already formidable oppression.”

    Did you mean “…I won’t pretend that fetuses aren’t lumps of flesh…”?

  27. Eric Xodik Says:

    “40 percent of women who have a child before the age of 18 will graduate from high school”

    so are you saying Black and Mexican teens should get pregnant to increase their statistical chances of graduating from High School????

    or maybe encourage Asian students to get knocked-up to even out the stats?

  28. Anonymous Says:

    There is one perenial comment in the ongoing argument about abortion that really sends me around the bend: “Just have an adoption.” These words should be regarded as equivalently heartless as “Just have an abortion.”

    Have you ever helped a woman give her baby up for adoption? Have you ever consoled her through years of post-partum depression? Have you ever clenched your teeth in helpless anger as the “Adoptive Parents” suddenly decide the “Open Adoption” is now closed and then legally abduct the child? Never to be heard from again?

    Just have the baby adopted? Fuck you!

  29. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Hey Ted,

    Just another comment regarding your view that smoking should be illegal.

    Believe me, I hate smoking. I think all states should have smoke-free workplace laws at least as stringent as California’s. I think parents who smoke around their children should be arrested for child abuse.

    I once put a guy into the emergency room with a concussion for blowing smoke in my face. I make no apology for it.

    That said, I oppose outlawing smoking altogether. Outright prohibitions always create more problems than they solve, whether it is prohibitions against abortion, drugs or guns. I have a great aunt who died in a sleazy fleabag hotel room from an illegal abortion. Laws against abortions didn’t stop her from getting one. The laws only got her killed.

    As Jello Biafra once said, “For every prohibition, you create a new underground.”

    If tobacco were outlawed, the Mob would move right in to make sure all the nicotine junkies of the world could still get their fix at highly inflated prices. It’s just like they did when abortion and alcohol were outlawed. It’s what’s going on now with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.

    If tobacco were outlawed, we’d have gangs having turf wars over the cigarette trade.

    We’d have nicotine junkies turning tricks or robbing houses to afford to buy cigarettes at $5 each from the Mafia.

    Let’s keep tobacco legal, but let’s also make sure that minors can’t get it and that non-smokers don’t have to breathe secondhand smoke.

  30. Sean C. Ledig Says:

    Coupla comments.

    Hey Neitzchuck,

    I hope you are right about enforcement of child support. But you’ll forgive my skepticism after reading articles like this from last week’s St. Pete Times.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/article794013.ece

    Secondly, we don’t need a male birth control pill. We have a male form of birth control – condoms.

    Not only is it an extremely effective form of birth control; it’s cheap; it’s easily available without a prescription; it protects against sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. (Yes, folks, it’s still out there and still killing people).

    Condoms also protect against other, more common venereal diseases which are sadly becoming resistant against antibiotics.

    Besides, in my experience, there are still to many men who think “If that dumb chick gets pregnant, it’s her fault.” Until we change attitudes and convince men that they should take an active role in family planning, it won’t matter what gets invented.

    And I still think a great way to change attitudes is aggressive enforcement of child support laws. Like I said, Neitzchuck, I hope things are different from when I was a kid, but I’m skeptical.

  31. Sean Says:

    You’re against the oppression of women, but you’d mandate that they must have an abortion based on age or marital status. That wouldn’t feel at all oppressive, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Feotuses busted down the door and forced you into the stirrups.

    I take it then that you didn’t mean what you said.

    BTW having your kids as a young adult may not make you the most hyper-efficient economic production unit, but bioligically its the easiest and least risky (for mother and especially baby) time to do it.

  32. Trig P Says:

    Anyone wanna bet this baby’s a retard too?

  33. futurefree Says:

    No, he said it right. If you thought of a fetus as a mere “lump of flesh,” destroying it wouldn’t be murder. Ted’s saying this is no mere lump of flesh, this is a human life, and destroying it is indeed a murder, albeit a murder he condones.

    As it just so happens, I agree with him completely. Women should be allowed to kill the fetus inside them if they choose to, but the pro-choice movement really should dispense with the euphemisms; they’re not helping. “KEEP FETUS MURDER LEGAL” may not look too inspirational on a T-shirt, but at least it’d be honest.

  34. Angelo Says:

    hmm, I guess I just could not give two shits about this issue. Being born into this country means automatically being a party to crimes against humanity. You can only do your babies soul a disservice by birthing him/her.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Wow Ted… I can’t help but think that you’ve just crossed the line from shockingly insightful perspective to some unknown territory with the whole mandated abortion notion… often you leave your readers uncomfortable because you might challenge some assumptions we hold about the world… this time I’m left uncomfortable because you’ve thrown in with the likes of Chinese one child policies…

  36. Maura Says:

    There is one perenial comment in the ongoing argument about abortion that really sends me around the bend: “Just have an adoption.” These words should be regarded as equivalently heartless as “Just have an abortion.”

    Have you ever helped a woman give her baby up for adoption? Have you ever consoled her through years of post-partum depression? Have you ever clenched your teeth in helpless anger as the “Adoptive Parents” suddenly decide the “Open Adoption” is now closed and then legally abduct the child? Never to be heard from again?

    Just have the baby adopted? Fuck you!

    I’m a firm believer in adoption as an alternative to abortion, but you’re absolutely right, and I include the “fuck you” in my agreement. Voluntarily giving your child away is as heart-wrenching as having an abortion. Being forced to do it would be worse.

    Which brings me to another point. Ted, I love you like cooked food, but you’re about as off on this subject as you can possible be. You’re approaching this like it’s a math problem, which I sort of get. But you’re forgetting that childbearing is always an emotional issue for women. Every woman I know who has had what you call “abortions of convenience” (and I know a lot of them) went through some soul searching. They don’t regret their decision, but it’s stayed with them. I seriously doubt that they give a damn about their reasons being justifiable to you, or any man, for that matter. You (and, in my following statement, by “you”, I mean men in general), can’t possibly get it, no matter how hard you try or how sympathetic you are. Until there’s a potential human life growing in you, and you 1) make the decision to end it; or 2) can feel that baby rolling around when you lay down at night, it’s all theory. (And it’s why “we’re pregnant” is bullshit.)

    I’ve been lucky enough to have had a choice in every reproductive decision I’ve made, and I’ve made some big ones. That they were in keeping with much of the attitude here is merely a coincidence. What was right for me(and after decades of living with them, I know I always made the right choice) won’t work for someone else. Every female, even an unmarried 17 year old with a fuckin’ redneck for a boyfriend, deserves to heard.

  37. Aggie Dude Says:

    Anon: 6:38, that’s a great comment about the hypocrisy of the right wing anti-abortion fascists. They REALLY TRULY aren’t concerned at all with finding working solutions to difficult problems, they merely want to impose their absolute truth on a reality that just doesn’t fit their fascist notions of the way things OUGHT to be.

    It’s the heart of the ideologically based policy. We say “faith based” because we don’t want to offend such a large group of voting morons, but it’s ideologically driven policy, and it’s extremely harmful to society.

    Policy is about compromise, there is no compromise in absolute truth.

    So the harm involved in the adoption process is overlooked, just as the harm involved in a ‘free’ market system is overlooked, because it simply doesn’t matter. It just becomes a fact of life, like pooping. But in reality, it IS something we have a choice about.

    Sean: Excellent point about the biological aspect of giving birth at a young age. It’s harmful socially because we have age-specific expectations, and also our society is formulated around a specific type of production (production that makes someone else wealthy). Giving birth, raising a healthy child, education, and good health are such long term investments that it doesn’t fit into the current Next Quarter mentality of shareholder driven industry.

    We need to relearn a reverence for ecological life cycles and use the power of social institutions to enhance the quality and longevity of those life cycles.

    This is why I took Ted’s recent op-ed to be a parody, and not an actual proposal. I made an assumption based on his past performance that he’s not equally lacking in substance as those he lambastes. Am I wrong, Ted? Should we read you literally?

  38. Incitatus Says:

    Aggie,

    Isn’t Ted’s reasoning – abortion is indeed a crime, but I support keeping it legal because the opposite amounts to female oppresion – just as ideological as the people you criticize? You talk like there’s a clear cut line between ideology/idealism and pragmatism, do you really believe so?

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Ted,

    I assume you are just kidding. Are
    you really calling for mandadory
    abortion?? We are not Nazi Germany
    YET. So wait untill we get there.
    And we are getting there.
    A pregnant teen has a serious problem. Any solution whether abortion or adoption or keeping the
    baby is painful and taxing to to
    body, emotions and hopes.
    The best solution is sex education
    and REAL campaign to educate teens
    about consequences of pregnancy coupled with very little assistance from the state for unwed teens. Yes, that is cruel but as I said there is no perfect outcome for such situation.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    I can’t tell if Ted is making “satire” here or not. I assume he isn’t.

    No nation that respects human rights can force an abortion. Government has no fucking right to make ANYONE have an abortion. I would be willing to shoot someone over the right of my illegal immigrant neighbor being able to get pregnat at 15 and drop out of high school. It is her right as a human.

    It is also about responsibility. IF you’re adult enough to have sex, you’re adult enough to have a baby. It is that simple. You’re also adult enough to have an abortion or give the child away to adoption. It is a fundamental human right. You also have the right to have your life “ruined” by it. Those that do not succeed to due a would be failures anyway most of the time. I does take a lot of time to take care of a baby, but you can still go to college if you have the will. Of course, said mother probably wouldn’t have much time to get knocked up again.

    Forcing abortion would only further our societial lack of accountability. You do it, you deal with it. Simple.

    The bigger issue I see is how the children will be coming from broken homes with loser parents. The federal government should do all they can to ensure these children will succeed, despite their parents.

    I say all of this as someone who was married at 18 and had a child at 20, and no, I’m not a fundamentalist. I am an atheist. I was able to support and still support my family.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    In some cases, we should make the abortions retroactive.

  42. Aggie Dude Says:

    Incitatus,

    Yes, I think there’s a clear line between Ideology and pragmatism, and I do not agree that Idealism and Ideology should be lumped together with a slash.

    For me, pragmatism and idealism are both about outcomes: “Ideally, we should have x outcome, pragmatically, lets figure out a way to get there.”

    All my life growing up I heard right wing clowns rant about how “the ends don’t justify the means.”

    Ideology takes that to an extreme, by -in effect- stating that the means justify the ends. For example, the free market is moral, so you have to understand that the outcome of people suffering is OK with Friedmanians, because the free market is moral, and therefore is just in it’s condemnation of the poor.

    I don’t really agree with Ted’s position, because I don’t think the “live begins at conception” argument is scientifically valid. Where do you separate the life of the mother from the life of the child? At what point do they become two instead of one? These are still contested, and I maintain that as long as they are contested in civil society, the government’s role is to defend the right of its citizens to liberty.

    The only reason this is in question is that fundamentalists don’t actually see the rights of women as equal. The religious conservatives’ railing against abortion, against maternal healthcare, against contraception, etc etc is all an affront to the civil liberties and moral rights of women as citizens, and not as the property of their fathers and husbands.

    Women play a role in perpetuating this to, but the fact that women play a role in it doesn’t make it any less damaging to the whole.

    Legal rights for a fetus should begin at birth. Trying to argue for ambiguity simply allows the nutjobs to believe that legality doesn’t matter. If GW Bush and company have taught us anything, it is the danger of allowing people to serve in public office who do not feel that legality is the most important aspect of legal institutions.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Bristol’s choice? Compare her online pics to the Modest Mary costume she wears for photo ops.

    Check out some pediatric texts. Trig is far too developed to conform to the storyline.

    BabyDaddy was given the choice of @sspound Alaskan Prison or smiling for the cameras. If you had a charge, “honest Officer Ted, she looked at least 14”, waiting on the whim of Vindictive Lipstick Bitch which would you pick?

    Mold

  44. Anonymous Says:

    Ted, does Karl Rove sign your paychecks? How else to explain your occasional absolute-farthest-left-hysterical-stereotype columns that destroy the credibility you seem to establish in saner moments?

    Palin disgusts me, as does the manipulation of her pregnant daughter and F—in’ Redneck Party Dude, clean-shaven and trotted out on stage.

    But, really? You’re going to publish a column with the phrase “mandatory abortion?” Yeah, good luck.

    My best friend’s mom was pregnant with his older sister when she was 16; him at 18. Their childhood was full of poverty and turmoil: father was volatile, lawless and disappeared for good when my friend was eight or nine.

    But his mom furthered her education, built a strong career and married the man who is now their longtime stepfather. My friend and his siblings are well-educated and well-traveled.

    Yeah, it’s one of your “exceptions.” And sure, much of his mom’s childhood was lost in the process. But that’s life. By all of your standards, she would have needed mandatory sterilization or abortion. Guess what? I’m mostly liberal and definitely pro-choice.

    For someone who rails against the facism of the right, a column like this just destroys your arguments.

    –SD

  45. Ted Rall Says:

    The point of my column is that Bristol Palin is NOT an example to be emulated. If anything, teens should be forbidden from having kids and getting married–not encouraged.

    As for the specific language you cite, perhaps I’ll attach a hyperbole sensor to my next column.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    Naturally, a young 18 year old woman in a failed marriage with no hope of support from the father should abort her child. Especially a child of mixed race, who would likely face incredible discrimination in this country.

    Luckily for you liberals, Anne Dunham chose to keep and raise her son, Barack Hussein Obama.

  47. Angelo Says:

    “Luckily for you liberals, Anne Dunham chose to keep and raise her son, Barack Hussein Obama.”

    Hi Anonymous.

    Would you say that there are not alot of people who are left of Obama?

    I find this idea that Obama is a liberal paragon to be very confusing, since I consider him to be quite conservative.

  48. Don Says:

    Good show, Ted- guts football. While I don’t think abortion for teens shold be madatory, it certainly should be easy for them to get one, anonymously and safely…and funded by taxpayers if they cannot pay, who ultimately have to pay for the children of the poor anyway.

    Also, a little sex ed for the hockey geek that knocked her up, and Palin’s daughter, along with no-worries access to birth control mighta helped…but try talking sense to Fundies on THAT subject.

    Childbearing without the means to provide for said child should NOT be a ‘right’, any more than I have a right to pollute non-smokers’ air with my drug habit. There are much better things we can spend tax dollars on; it’s not as if we don’t have enough people on the planet already.

    As usual- keep up the fine work, Ted!

  49. Anonymous Says:

    I almost feel sorry for you libs. You are about to get your clock cleaned by Palin/McCain, you know if, and it’s killing you.

  50. Anonymous Says:

    cant help wondering what this newest surge in old lady childbirth will bring in the long run. teen moms have been the evolutionary norm in humans. could the rise in autism and other disorders have anything to do with old eggs?

    i knew my great grandparents, i supposed that is coming to a quick close. perhaps people in the future wont even know their grandparents.

  51. Aggie Dude Says:

    I second Angelo, Obama is fairly conservative, even by the standards of those he ran against in the primary. Hillary is more liberal than he is, to say nothing of Edwards and Kucinich. But aside from Kucinich, the Democrats aren’t willing to field a truly liberal candidate, because the right wing controls the United States.

    And if you don’t believe that, just consider anyone else but Republicans using the proximity of Alaska to Russia as an example of foreign policy experience. GW Bush said the same thing about the proximity of Texas to Mexico.

  52. Anonymous Says:

    Aggie spouts off:
    just consider anyone else but Republicans using the proximity of Alaska to Russia as an example of foreign policy experience.

    Anon shows him how moronic his statement is again:
    “Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact I spent four years overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia” – B Hussien Obama

  53. Ted Rall Says:

    Obama’s resume IS thin. But living four years abroad is a hell of a lot more intense than living in a state that borders a foreign country.

  54. Angelo Says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    Palin has spoken to ZERO russians, and she has commanded the national guard exactly ZERO times. Period.

    Do you understand that? Is there any hope of waking you, or does the soft and fuzzy comfort of your matress exert too irresistable a pull?

    Obama’s legislative experience affected a number of people orders of magnitude larger than Palin’s realm. Stop comparing them.

  55. Anonymous Says:

    I would prefer teenage couples to put their babies for adoption rather than abort them (i’m pro life)

  56. Anonymous Says:

    But living four years abroad is a hell of a lot more intense than living in a state that borders a foreign country.
    He was ten. His brother who lives in a hut one $1/month has more experience.

  57. Fouad Says:

    “hmm, I guess I just could not give two shits about this issue. Being born into this country means automatically being a party to crimes against humanity. You can only do your babies soul a disservice by birthing him/her.”

    Well said Angelo

  58. Ted Rall Says:

    I daresay that four years of childhood spent growing abroad provides valuable insight into looking at the United States the way non-Americans view it: a place of economic opportunity and political opportunity that denies those joys to the citizens of countries unlucky enough to live under the despotic rule of American allies.

    I’ll say it again: Obama really isn’t qualified to be president. Compared to Palin, however, he’s Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln and FDR combined.

  59. Anonymous Says:

    I can’t wait until Palin/McCain cream Hussien Obama/Biden. Literally I cannot wait. I want to see that smug look wiped of Aggie’s and Angelo’s oh so superior faces. Your pomposity is the reason you cannot win elections.

  60. Anonymous Says:

    I lived in Europe for eight years. Using your logic, I am more qualified in foreign policy then B Hussien Obama.

  61. Angelo Says:

    “I want to see that smug look wiped of Aggie’s and Angelo’s oh so superior faces. Your pomposity is the reason you cannot win elections.”

    you realize I have predicted, and hope for a McCain/Palin win, right?

  62. Anonymous Says:

    Mr. Rall,

    I almost always agree with everything you state in your editorials. I think it is too dangerous for Sarah Palin to go outside the confines of her local bowling alley in Wasilla, much less set up shop in our nation’s capital. But I believe her daughter’s decision to have her baby is nobody’s business and, as a big time pro-choicer, I completely disagree with your mandatory teen abortion idea.

    I don’t want to go on a “you are a man, so you don’t understand” rant, but I feel your editorial warrants one. If you were a female of any age who has had an abortion, or a person of any gender who has known a loved one to have one, you would know this procedure is not like getting your teeth cleaned, which is how I assume you and most of your male readership view abortion (though I hope I am wrong). You don’t do it, forget it, and life goes on as normal. It can have extremely emotional short- and long- term consequences, especially for teenagers who can have so much emotional garbage to deal with anyway. I believe the staffs at a lot of clinics are not equipped, or simply do not care, to handle this extra support teens need. By mandating this procedure for teens just takes their situation way too lightly. I think that’s where the “choice” in “pro-choice” gets lost with people on both sides of the subject.

    However, I agree with you that teen pregnancy is not good for society, etc. So, can we finally vote in people into government so these kids can be educated properly early? We should mandate a year-long class from 5th grade through 12th grade based on your words: “Having Kids and Getting Married Too Young are a Prescription for Unhappiness 101”. Lord knows there could be plenty of guest speakers.

    Nonetheless, I love your column and hope you keep writing it for a long time, even when your thoughts don’t match mine.

  63. G. M. Palmer Says:

    Angelo —

    Is there some country you’d rather be born in? Should the Chinese and Russians go ahead and abort all their babies too? How about the British and the French, since they have all those fairly recent crimes to atone for? The entirety of the Muslim world and sub-Saharan Africa? They’ve got to go, too?

    All governments are corrupt, murderous anathema. Simply living under one doesn’t make you a party to its crimes.

    Choosing not to have children is the stupidest possible thing to do when one lives in a (nominal?) Democracy. You’re depriving yourself of a cadre of voters wholly indoctrinated in your views. My brothers and sisters (and two of their now adult children) vote in alignment with our parents by a margin of 5:1.

    But that would mean taking the longview. Something I assume that most idealogues (like you, Angelo) are incapable of.

  64. demon seed Says:

    I am sorry it has taken me so long to find this post. RIGHT ON!!!

    Many more teenage girls are having children BY CHOICE than most of us would care to imagine. That’s right, getting pregnant ON PURPOSE. For the rest, who actually did get pregnant accidentally, the reasons why they chose to keep the babies rather than abort are INANE. Check out this forum:
    http://ehealthforum.com/health/teen_pregnancy.html

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