What I Really Said About Bristol

9 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.
Anti-choice blogs have been on a rampage, slamming me over
and over with allegations neither accurate nor true.

I'm quite accustomed to their techniques of misleading their readers
in an attempt to persuade by histrionics and lies if the truth doesn't
work. So I'm not about to waste my time in a food fight with them.

On the other hand, when someone asks me a legitimate question about
something attributed to me, I try to to reply. This interchange with a
woman I'll call Denise is an example I'd like to share with you, in hopes
it will encourage civil discourse about issues that elicit strong feelings:

Subject:Your statement about Bristol Palin and abortion

Gloria Feldt:
I noticed an article on September 4, 2008 in Lifenews.com

that speaks ofyour response to Bristol Palin's pregnancy.
You make a statement that"Bristol probably does not feel
that she has a choice in regard to abortion because of
her parents views on abortion." Could you please forward
to me information that confirms this view of Bristol
Palin probably wanting to have an abortion. Thank you
for your time.

Dear Denise,
Lifenews has both misquoted me and misconstrued what I said, but that's
not unusual. They aren't generally very interested in the actual facts.
Also they can't seem to get it through their heads that I am an
independent commentator now. I don't represent any organization, though
Ido have a lifetime of expertise--both personal and professional.

I was quoted by Bonnie Fuller in her Huffington Post article about

I have included below the paragraphs before and after where she
quoted me(of course, I said more during the interview as well; one
never feels that one's quote is entirely in context, but such is life).
Obviously when you read the entire piece, however, you see I was
speaking about the importance for any woman to feel she truly does
have a choice in what is happening with her body and her life. I
deliberately didn't refer to any one choice over another, because that's
the point--she should be able to determine her own fate. Personally, I
believe it is a human right and a moral obligation to make one's own
childbearing decisions and be responsible for them. I don't judge
Bristol's choice--I made the same one myself many years ago. Here's the
excerpt with my quote in the middle paragraph:

No wonder getting pregnant in high school is truly a girl's
worst nightmare, points out Atoosa Rubenstein, the founding
editor-in-chief ofCosmoGIRL! magazine, and later the editor
of Seventeen magazine. BristolPalin should have "the
protection of her mother right now and not be
paraded around as a platform. She should have had the privacy
to make herown difficult choices and now she has to support
her mother's ambitionand policies regardless of what she wants
for herself — she's beenthrown under a bus," believes Rubenstein.

"She probably feels powerless right now," points out Gloria Feldt,
who is the author of Behind Every Choice is a Story, and is the former
presidentof Planned Parenthood of America. "Because of her family's
attitude sheprobably doesn't feel that she has a choice, in terms of
what will happen to her and her mother is weaving a narrative that
it's a heroic thing that she is going forward with the pregnancy,
she's getting married and it will all be beautiful and rosy."

But Bristol Palin isn't a policy poster child, or a celebrity,
she's areal live 17-year-old trying to cover her growing bump with
a baggy sweatshirt or by holding her 4 month-old baby brother as a
shield. She's now planning, according to her mom's statement, to
marry and spend her life with her 18-year-old boyfriend, Levi Johnston,
a guy who uses the "f" word as his major descriptive adjective on his
MySpace page. He also until yesterday described himself as someone who
"likes to hang out with the boys...and just f---in chillin," and who
doesn't want kids on that same page, until it was yanked off of
public view.

Best regards,
Gloria Feldt

Denise replied as follows, making my effort of responding to her

I want to thank you so much for your reply - I honestly did not expect a
reply from you and I am so thankful that you took the time to email me
back with your response. I must say that I have a totally different
opinion of you now, regardless of our agreeing on all points, etc. I
believe you are fair and honest and will watch for information regarding
you and your points of view with a new interest. Again, thank you so
much for your time and response.

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