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Shannon Koehle: Teen Pregnancy and The White House

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Presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain announced Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, August 29.

Just three days later, 44-year-old Palin and her husband Todd release a statement confirming their 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy.

Palin’s second oldest child of five, Bristol, is five months pregnant.

According the Los Angeles Times, Bristol made the decision alone to raise the child.

Released in a statement Monday, Sarah and Todd Palin say, “Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with the news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned.”

They added, “Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family.”

The New York Times has confirmed the baby’s father as Levi Johnston.

Little has been publicized about Johnston, but according to Wasilla, Alaska residents, he is a local high school senior and “prominent player on the hockey team,” said the L.A. Times.

While media have been covering Bristol’s pregnancy like she was the first 17-year-old to ever conceive, both McCain and Senator Barack Obama have attempted to keep the focus on key election issues.

McCain was informed before choosing Palin as a running mate about her daughter’s pregnancy, he says.

His chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, also reported to the L.A. Times, “It’s a private family matter. Life happens in families.”

Obama chimed in on a similar note. “Let me be as clear as possible,” he told media outlets according to CNN. “I think people’s families are off-limits and people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics.”

Bristol’s pregnancy has additionally confirmed Palin’s anti-abortion stance.

A Feminist for Life since 2006, Palin firmly remains a pro-life advocate.

As Serrin Foster, President for Feminists for Life of America told CNN, “She walks her talk. She has principles that she espouses, and she does not set herself apart for those principles.

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