The revelation that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol is five months pregnant has become fodder for the blogosphere and media outlets. It's ignited debates about abstinence-only sex education and the role parents play in teaching their children about sex.
It highlighted the fact that one in three girls younger than the age of 20 will become pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Good Morning America" wanted to find out what average teenagers today think of Bristol Palin's plight, and how they look at sex in general, so we hosted a roundtable with several teenage boys and girls from New York and Connecticut to discuss their thoughts on teen pregnancy and sex.
Initially the genders were questioned separately by "GMA" anchor Chris Cuomo, before the group came together for some final questions. Check out what the teens had to say.
"I think it's pretty typical of America today. A lot of girls are getting pregnant at young ages so I don't think it's a bad thing," said 17-year-old Jessica Berard.
But 15-year-old Sasha Pezenik disagreed.
"If she were 20 or 25, it would be different. She's still in high school," Pezenik said.
While critics and pundits openly have questioned how this incident reflects on Palin and her candidacy, 17-year-old Ryhan Rudd said it's "unfair" to think Bristol's pregnancy says something bad about Palin's parenting.
"Mistakes happen, you know, and just because she's a governor and is in the limelight — it happens every day," Rudd said.
But that doesn't mean teens discuss the prospect of pregnancy with their friends.
"Not really because I don't plan on it. I don't think anyone plans on it happening at a young age. It's just not really something that we talk about a lot," said Laura Grenier, 17.
When it came to the question of responsibility, the girls were unanimous in their beliefs that it's up to both people in the relationship to ensure their own safety.
"Specifically I'm surprised that Bristol is pregnant because not only is she the daughter of a potential vice president, but she's the daughter of Sarah Palin, who, as we know, is extremely conservative. She is pro-life," said 18-year-old Peter Bumcrot.
Still none of the boys thought that the revelation should have any impact on Palin's pursuit of the vice presidential office.
"I can't think of one parent who would tell their kid to have unprotected sex," said 15-year-old Alex Beer.
"It's scary because it forces kids into this position of adulthood when kids should not be worrying about, 'I have to get diapers for my baby,' when I'm 16, 17 years old," said Gary Spector, 15.
"I don't think it matters how much you know," Pezenik said. "It's something [emotions] that I think teenagers are too young to know how to control."
The teens agreed that surveys about teen sex may not be accurate because the teens aren't telling the truth about their sexual lives.