People magazine has unveiled a sneak peek of its exclusive one-on-one with Bristol Palin. The issue, which hits stands Friday, features a photo of the recent high school grad on its cover: Clad in her cap and gown, she holds up baby Tripp like he's her diploma. It's Anne Geddes meets Diane Arbus -- and that's just the grand entrance to this carnival of chastity. The article mainly tells us what we already know: The 18-year-old often has sleepless nights, in which she rises multiple times to feed her son, for instance. But there is one quote amid the prosaic details of motherhood that is very, very sad: "If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex," she says. "Trust me. Nobody."
I'm sure I don't need to remind you, but it can't be repeated enough: Three months ago, in a fleeting, candid moment, Bristol said that abstinence was "unrealistic." It's like she's been browbeaten into believing the lie that pregnancy and motherhood are her deserved punishments for having had sex before marriage. Never mind that minor detail, as revealed by her baby's father, about sometimes not practicing safe sex. It's a perfect, heart-wrenching illustration of the abstinence-only cycle: Girls are taught that the consequence of sex is pregnancy, therefore they shouldn't have sex, period. So, if they do "give in" and have sex, they're less likely to be prepared to prevent that unwanted consequence. And then that original maxim is confirmed, and round and round it goes.