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Posted at 01:33 PM ET, 04/06/2011

Bristol Palin nets $262,500 as abstinence speaker: Is she right for the job?


Palin: Six-figure abstinence speaker (Charles Sykes - AP)
When it comes America’s ability to effectively grapple with the issue of motherhood, it’s safe to say we’re living in paradoxical times.

The House moved to defund Planned Parenthood, taking away government funding for an organization that provides affordable preventative care, while MTV-famous teen mothers glamorize their custody grievances on the covers of magazines like “US Weekly.” Now, we’ve just been hit with the news that former teen mom Bristol Palin netted $262,500 as an abstinence speaker affiliated with the Candie’s Foundation, a figure seven times what the foundation actually gave to health and counseling clinics. (ThinkProgress has the docs here.)

Palin, whose pregnancy was announced when she was 18 — specifically, on the opening day of the 2008 Republican National Convention — joined the teen pregnancy nonprofit two years ago.

For Palin, reaping the benefits of the abstinence message while failing to practice it herself has been lucrative, but it remains to be seen whether or not abstinence is the right way to reach teens. The U.S. teen birth rate is at a record low, but births among American teens is still up to nine times that of other affluent nations, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention report released Wednesday.

As a teen mother, six-figure-making Palin is an anomaly: The CDC also reports that half of teen mothers don’t graduate high school before 22. Palin graduated on time and with a 3.497 GPA.

Update: Candie’s Foundation sticks by their spokesperson, telling the Post’s Reliable Source that its aim is to educate teenagers, not grant money to causes. According to Neil Cole, CEO of the group that owns Candie’s, Palin has “done more work for the foundation than any other person we’ve worked with.” Read more about Reliable Source’s conversation with Cole here.

Is Bristol Palin the right person to talk to teens about abstinence? Why or why not? Use #palinpay to tell us on Twitter and we'll post your replies right here.

@washingtonpost Not the best choice. Her life is too glamorized with no real consequences. Should pick someone that learned. #palinpayless than a minute ago via web

@washingtonpost #palinpay Not sure how her message will be heard in cities and to kids living in extreme situations or poverty.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Android

By  |  01:33 PM ET, 04/06/2011

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