Student Life, the campus newspaper for Washington University, reports that Bristol Palin will be speaking on campus during the school's annual Sex Week. The school got approval to spend $20,000 on speaking fees for the week, but won't disclose exactly how much of that will go toward bringing Palin to campus. This isn't Palin's first stint giving sex advice. In 2009 she did a much-publicized tour for Teen Pregnancy Awareness Day, which promotes abstinence.
But apparently the reason Palin has been invited to speak is because there's been a push for more "balance" during sex week:
“We thought a big name like Bristol’s would help to start a dialogue,” SHAC President Scott Elman said. “We also wanted to target abstinence because SHAC and Sex Week have been criticized for being too liberal and too one-dimensional, and that the abstinence conversation hasn’t been brought up.”
Abstinence-only education, despite having been shown to be ineffective, still has support. Though President Barack Obama pledged to eliminate abstinence-only education from the budget, Sen. Orrin Hatch managed to put an earmark for $50 million back in.
Abstinence is certainly a component of comprehensive sex education -- after all, everyone is abstinent from sex for some period of time -- but the presence of Palin suggests that they're not just worried about including an abstinence message. Instead, the message has become anti-contraception and anti-abortion. Palin clearly hasn't been abstinent from sex her whole life. If they really wanted to include a discussion on abstinence, Palin seems like the wrong messenger.
-- Kay Steiger