Yes, Bristol Palin can make her own decisions

A reminder: being pro-choice means supporting a woman's ability to choose to continue a pregnancy as well as to terminate a pregnancy. Just because she makes a decision you would not, or that you think unwise, does not mean that she was prevented from making another decision, or that she was under undue pressure.

I've seen a lot of people arguing that it's okay to criticize Sarah Palin for her daughter's pregnancy because Sarah Palin is anti-choice and therefore, Bristol must have been forced to keep her child. Or that she had a "choice," but that choice was between keeping the baby or adoption. That somehow, she was prevented from having an abortion, because that must have been what she really wanted.

This is bullshit.

Why is it so difficult to grasp that a young woman raised to believe that abortion was wrong would believe that abortion is wrong? That she might look at her options and decide to continue her pregnancy, keep the child and raise it?

I mean, don't we argue that parental notification and consent laws are immoral because teenagers are capable of making decisions about their own bodies and their own futures? That if they're old enough to be expected to raise a child, they should be considered to be old enough to make an informed decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy?

So why does that argument fail when it comes to Bristol Palin, simply because her mother is staunchly anti-choice?

It also bears noting that Bristol, under Alaska law, was under no obligation to seek consent from her parents or even to notify them. Alaska's Supreme Court last year threw out the state's parental-consent law; however, because the law only applied to girls under 17, it would not have affected Bristol.

It's rather patronizing to substitute your own judgment for that of Bristol concerning her own body, judgment she's entitled to under state law. Don't assume that just because she made a choice you don't like that somebody else made it for her.

UPDATE: See also this post by Lauren, who knows a little something about teenage pregnancy and the stereotypes people have about teen mothers.

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