May 6th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
5 years ago

'Learn from my example,' says Bristol Palin

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston were thrust into the national spotlight last September when Gov. Sarah Palin revealed that the unmarried teens were expecting a baby.
Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston were thrust into the national spotlight last September when Gov. Sarah Palin revealed that the unmarried teens were expecting a baby.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Teen mom Bristol Palin had a simple message for teens on Wednesday, the 8th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

The daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – the 2008 vice presidential nominee – said in an interview on NBC's Today Show that she wanted other teens to "learn from my example."

"If you're going to have sex, I think you should have safe sex," the unwed, teenage mother said as she held her infant son, Tripp. "And, regardless of what I did or anything like that, I think that abstinence is the only 100 percent foolproof way of preventing teen pregnancy."

Her father, Todd, acknowledged that his daughter was negotiating difficult territory as she holds herself out as an increasingly public advocate for the cause of preventing teen pregnancy.

"It's kind of a fine line that we're definitely walking on," he said when asked whether the governor's daughter could both advocate for teens to abstain and encourage practicing safe sex.

The young mother did have one topic she was not willing to discuss in detail – her increasingly strained relationship with Levi Johnston, Tripp's father.

"I'm honestly not here to talk about my personal life," Palin told Lauer, adding that Johnston was involved in raising their son.

"They're working out a schedule," Todd Palin said of the young parents' arrangements. "I know that both of them will love and care for their son together."

In a recent interview with CNN's Larry King, Johnston and his family said they were considering legal action to protect his parental rights.


Filed under: Bristol Palin • Levi Johnston • Sarah Palin • Todd Palin
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I didn't think the word "Learn" was in the Palin family vocabulary.

    May 6, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  2. Robin

    She is a girl who made a mistake, but was given a gift of a healthy son. I applaud her, and I agree. If you are going to have sex and are not ready to be a parent, use protection.

    But using protection would also cut down on the number of abortions performed, so the liberals would not care for that.

    May 6, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Mal Atete

    I thought teen pregnancies in general were declining BEFORE Ms. Palin's epiphany that she messed up royal? She apparently was among the few who didn't get the memo! That's what happens when you don't take education seriously and drop out of HS.

    May 6, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. KC

    To all you "Palin Haters & Bashers" who are going to blab on about, "who is Bristol Palin to tell others about teen pregnancy?".....I would rather learn about alcohol abuse, drug abuse, being a battered wife, teen pregnancy, suicide prevention, etc. from someone who has been there and done that. I don't need a bunch of college-educated idiots who have "read all about it" or had their "pedestal-placed" college professors telling me all about life when they themselves have never ever experienced the issue or for that matter "real life" itself. When are people going to back off and realize that "real life" is the only way to know how to handle a situation? Would you rather have a mechanic who has read about working on your car or one who has actually worked on a car? A doctor who has read about surgery or one who has performed surgery? Get the drift or do you need your college professors to explain it to you?

    May 6, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Jenna

    Abstinence is great to talk about and it is really the only fullproof way to prevent pregnancy, but it's not realistic. Teenagers are not going to quit having sex. In my opinion, the only way for prevention of teenage pregnancy is to promote safe sex.

    May 6, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. phoenix86

    Teen pregnancies are on the rise. There are on average 750,000 teen pregnancies every year now. This is what happens when culture and morality are denigrated by media and politicians and parents won't take responsibility for teaching anything to their children.

    May 6, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Goverment is your Daddy

    Teen pregnancy will be on the rise with the great one in control, these are his biggest base.

    May 6, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Oh yes, we have learned from you and your mother's examples.

    You are both a couple of good "bad examples". Yup. (wink)

    May 6, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. Franky

    I think she should just go take care of her child, she is wasting time...

    And that doesn't even make sense, learn from my example?? The only thing we know about her is that she had a a kid and quite shameful, we don't even know how to exemplify her. That's like me saying don't gamble because of me...what do you think you're gonna say? Exactly...

    And she has money, what the hell is she trying to prove?? They are ticking me off and our boys here, not because she ain't doing the right thing, but because she is using herself as a guinea pig...Octomom already did that, we don't need another one for crying out loud...

    May 6, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. RepubliKLANs Are Plain STUPID

    It will make alot of sense if she lived the life she is now preaching...."do what I say, but dont do what I do!" – yeah, right!!!!

    this is all political posturing for Pain-Lin. Pain-Lin cares more about her political life than her daughter & grandchild welfare; she is ready to throw her daghter, her baby's daddy inder the bus!

    Let people with good moral values speak on this issues...Abstinence is not the only option, but republiKLANs will want you to believe that; while they can't monitor their own kids to do the same!!!!

    May 6, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. rodlang

    So much hate and vitriol from liberals. This girl is trying to help other teen girls not make the same mistakes she did but still the hate.

    May 6, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. Kanon

    My Iron-o-meter is going crazy.

    May 6, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. Some Guy

    True story: There were 4 highschools in the town where I grew up. I went to the "conservative" one. We were the school that didn't have sex education because it was "wrong." Guess what? We were the highschool with all of the teen pregnancies. Thank god my parents told me what's what and showed me where dad's condoms were. Have a nice day!

    May 6, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. SR

    Bristol, why don't you go back to Alaska and shoot moose from a helicopter or something along with your hypocrite mother.

    Don't you get it? You're the poster child for how "abstinence only" really works.

    May 6, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. Mississippi Mike

    She is a good object lesson: a good girl who made a mistake. She thought she could fix it by marrying the father of her child but like most teenage marriages, the marriage failed. She is blessed with a beautiful child and a family who loves her so she will do just fine but I hope more young people can see that immorality has its consequences.

    May 6, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Film Professor

    Yeah, she's a great spokesperson for abstinence LOL.

    The other "lesson" here is for parents, who may have chosen to have large families and also to try and have very active careers, like both Sarah and Todd have chosen. Very few people can have it all, folks. Parents have just got to spend time with all of their children and to know and understand what is going on with them. Even that is not going to be enough to keep some kids from having unprotected sex and producing unwanted pregnancies, so we also need to make sure that they know how to practice safe sex.

    May 6, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Dave

    What is anyone named Palin doing on mainstream media? You want to talk about teen pregnancy, responsibility and learning from your experiences, but when someone asks you about the child's father, your response is, "I'm not here to talk about my personal life"???

    The only reason you're on TV to begin with is to discuss your personal life.

    If you really want to set an example for young people to follow, don't be hippocritical and tell them not to have sex (do as I say, not as I do). Rather, patch things up with your child's father, and set a REAL example for how to be mature.

    May 6, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. obama/mama

    It's good that Bristol is sending this message to teenagers. I am glad she did not discuss her personal relationship. That is something that should be kept private. Hopefully both her and Levi can work together for the good of their child who is the most important person in this ordeal.

    May 6, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. rachae

    I think we can definately learn what "not to do" from the Palin family example. They are worst than the Spears.

    May 6, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Gobsmacked

    We definitely shouldn't judge Bristol too harshly. After all, she's young.
    But Sarah - It's deeply troubling how much of a pawn she's made her daughter and the father of her grandchild.

    May 6, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. patticake

    this story does nothing but keep the palin soap opera going. i am sick of hearing about sarah palin and her disfunctional family. she needs to keep her personal life behind closed doors where it belongs and stop using her family to keep her nasty face in the news. shame on CNN for running anything about this palin bunch.. most americans are sick and tired of the negative energy this woman puts forward every time she opens her mouth.

    May 6, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. CATINA

    BRISTOL DID A GREAT JOB!

    May 6, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Lori

    It always amazes me how Republicans hate welfare funding but expect a young woman who has an unexpected pregnancy to keep her child, even if she can't afford it. Hypocrisy from those on the right with so-called 'Christian values'. Bless the child but what can Bristol teach young girls? She's rich, doesn't need Levi's child support and has not a care in the world financially. That is not what most teen moms go through.

    May 6, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. Inyang

    She is a very courageous child who took responsibilty for her action. She did not secretly decied to flush out her precious baby like some pretentious cawards would do. Please leave her alone, she and her soon will be fine. Some day she will look back and be greatful that she kept that precious little angle. I know that she will get back to her study, nothing can stop her.

    May 6, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. r austin

    I am very disturbed by bristol palin's stance now. she is not like other teen parents, she does not live as ordinary teens do, without help most of the time, resources etc. when her parents were pushing marriage, everything seemed to be fine. she is not the best role model and her family will do anything to stay in the news. yes, she made a mistake, her mother made mistakes, now they should just go and live their lives without subjecting the rest of us to their wisdom. if she wants to be such a role model why don't she and her mother talk to and assist the teen mothers in Alaska.

    May 6, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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