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McCain on Teens and Contraception:"You've stumped me"


This whole big sorry mess of a story about Sarah Palin's pregnant 17-year-old daughter has done one good thing: It's finally pushed sex education and reproductive rights into the conversation.

Let's take a few seconds to enjoy the irony of yet another abstinence-only-pushing conservative Christian finding out her teenage daughter got knocked up by that nice young man she met in church (OK that was just Jamie Lynn in the last bit).

And then let's move on to hoping this issue finally gets some traction in the campaign. From today's Huffington Post, an AP story by Sharon Theimer says:

Until Monday, when the subject surfaced in a deeply personal manner, teen pregnancy and sex education were not issues in the national political campaign.

Palin herself said she opposes funding sexual-education programs in Alaska.

"The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support," she wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates.

McCain's position on contraceptives and teen pregnancy issues has been difficult to judge on the campaign trail, as he appears uncomfortable discussing such topics. Reporters asked the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in November 2007 whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, whether such programs should include directions for using contraceptives and whether he supports President Bush's policy of promoting abstinence.

"Ahhh, I think I support the president's policy," McCain said.

When reporters pressed McCain whether the government should provide contraceptives or counseling on contraceptives, he replied, "You've stumped me." McCain said later that he was sure he opposed government spending on contraceptives.