NYC Teens Chide Palin's Abstinence Call

New York City students who heard Bristol Palin's warnings against teen pregnancy say they might consider abstinence, but they wouldn't take advice on it from the young unwed mother.

Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, recently was selected as an ambassador to The Candie's Foundation to help create awareness about the pitfalls of teen pregnancy.


On Wednesday, she carried her message to about 150 teens at a town meeting forum at The Times Center that included "Heroes" actress Hayden Panettiere and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza, who was a teen father.

"It's a big flop," said Jerry Kowal, a senior at Solomon Schecter High School in Hartsdale, N.Y., referring to Palin's campaign to get teens to abstain from sex.

"I don't think it's her real opinion," the 17-year-old told "She's just trying to help her mother. She said it herself that abstinence education doesn't work. I looked it up."

In a February interview with Fox News' Greta Susteren, Palin talked about how much her life had changed since the birth of then-two month old Trig and how teenage abstinence was "unrealistic."

Bristol Palin joined Candie?s Foundation as teen-pregnancy prevention advocate.

Palin Says Remarks 'Out of Context'

Palin, who gave birth last December, has said earlier remarks were "taken out of context."

Her pregnancy came on the heels of her mother Sarah Palin's bid for the Republican vice-presidential spot. Now, the teen mother's own son is only months away in age from her youngest brother Trig, whom she cradled in front of television audiences on the campaign trail.

After the spotlight of the presidential campaign, Tripp's father, Levi Johnson, broke off his engagement to Palin.

In an interview Wednesday with ABC News' "Good Morning America," Palin said, "I'm relatable. And I'm a teen myself. Regardless of what I did personally, I just think that abstinence is the only way that you can effectively, 100 percent, foolproof way to prevent pregnancy."

But some in her teenage audience disagreed.

"I don't get it," said Raina Brot, 15, from the Beacon School in Manhattan. "She's being kind of a hypocrite."

The Candie's Foundation's mission to educate teenagers about the consequences of teen pregnancy was evident in the posters that draped the stage. They read, "You think your parents gave you a lot of crap?" or, "You think being in school stinks?" One with a photo of a baby crib read, "Not really what you pictured your first crib, huh?"

Teen Births on Rise

A report published in January by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that teen birth rates are rising in 26 states, ending a 15-year decline.

The highest increases are in four states, including Palin's home, Alaska, as well as Mississippi, Montana, Hawaii and Nevada. Regionally, the Northeast has the lowest and the Southwest has the highest rates.

According The Candie's Foundation, the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the industrialized world. Each year, some 750,000 American teens get pregnant, and, like Palin, 8 out of 10 do not marry the father.

Palin told students that although she was "blessed" by having a large family to help her, the baby thwarted her plans to go to college outside of Alaska and put her "life on the fast track."

"You have so much responsibility and hard work," she told the teens. "It's a 24-hour-a-day job. You don't have friends and you can't just go out to the movies or go get your hair done. It's baby first."

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