Bristol Palin to make TV debut in teen pregnancy show

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

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Single teen mom Bristol Palin, the daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, will make her acting debut on a television show that centers around a teen pregnancy, the Disney-owned ABC Family channel said on Tuesday.

Bristol, 19, whose pregnancy caused a stir during her mother’s 2008 campaign, will play herself on the popular drama series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” The episode will shoot in Los Angeles and air in the U.S. summer when the series returns for its third season.

The eldest daughter of Sarah Palin’s five children, Bristol gave birth to a son named Tripp in December, 2008, and split last year with the baby’s father and her fiance, Levi Johnston.

Her pregnancy was an awkward moment for Sarah Palin, a staunch conservative who supported teaching abstinence in public schools as a form of sex education.

On the TV show, Bristol will play herself as a friend of the show’s 16-year-old protagonist, Amy, who juggles motherhood and high school after a one night stand with a fellow student. Despite lukewarm reviews when it started in 2008, the drama is one of the most popular youth shows on U.S. television.

Since giving birth, Bristol Palin has become increasingly outspoken, urging young Americans to abstain from having sex to avoid becoming a teenage mother like herself.

“Having a baby is a huge responsibility and I think that teenagers should just wait to have sex,” she told a panel in New York last year as the abstinence ambassador for The Candie’s Foundation.

Last week Bristol responded to jokes on her mother’s Facebook page about the animated TV show, “Family Guy” that appeared to mock her 22-month-old brother, Trig, who has Down syndrome.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jill Serjeant