"If I can prevent even one girl from getting pregnant, I will feel a sense of accomplishment," says Bristol Palin, who, with baby Tripp in her arms, appeared on the Today Show this morning in observance of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day. Bristol is now the teen ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy.
Bristol emphasized the all-consuming nature of parenting, particularly as a single mother. Tripp is "not a mistake, he’s a blessing," she told Today Show host Matt Lauer. "But it’s a lot of responsibility." Her life has "completely changed, I’m constantly changing diapers and making bottles," she added.
Both Bristol and her father Todd Palin, who appeared on the show with her, talked about what parenting has forced her to give up — life with her friends and an easier path to a college education. When asked whether teens think about the consequences of getting pregnant, Bristol responded, "I don’t think they do and I think they should."
Is there "room in this discussion for practicing safe sex?" Lauer asked. "Definitely, if you are having sex, you should be having safe sex," Bristol responded. But, she emphasized, abstinence is "the only foolproof way" to prevent pregnancy. She’s not quite Scarleteen, but the nation’s most prominent voice on being a teen parent is coming ever closer to endorsing comprehensive, medically-accurate sexuality education.
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Bristol Palin will appear later today at a town hall at the Times Center in New York City — Cristina Page and I will both be attending and will report back on what she says there.