Wait to have sex, Palin's daughter tells U.S. teens

Thu May 7, 2009 8:45am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's daughter, who caused a stir on her mother's U.S. vice presidential campaign last year when it was revealed she was pregnant, urged young Americans on Wednesday to abstain from having sex to avoid becoming a teenage mother like herself.

Some girls believe a baby "is like having an accessory on their hip," Bristol Palin, 18, told a panel. "Having a baby is a huge responsibility and I think that teenagers should just wait to have sex," she said.

Palin was speaking at an event organized by The Candie's Foundation, which aims to educate teenagers about the problems young people face if they get pregnant, and which has appointed her as a teen ambassador.

Palin's pregnancy hit the headlines when her mother -- known for her staunch conservatism on social issues -- ran as the Republican vice presidential candidate alongside John McCain in the White House race won by Democrat Barack Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden.

Bristol Palin had a son, Tripp, in December and has since split with her fiance and the baby's father, Levi Johnston.

"You have so much responsibility and it's just hard work. It's a 24 hours a day job," said Palin of motherhood, adding she had dreamed of going to college, traveling and hanging out more with her friends until she got pregnant.

The Candie's Foundation said more than 750,000 U.S. teens get pregnant every year, the highest rate in rich nations.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Editing by Frances Kerry)

<p>Bristol Palin, Teen Ambassador to The Candie's Foundation and daughter of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, attends a town hall meeting on teen pregnancy prevention in New York May 6, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>