February 7, 2008 8:34 AM
Is it nutty to call pregnant teens slutty?
Rep. Larry Liston's remarks were made during a discussion of Colorado's high teen pregnancy rate with health care professionals at a Republican legislative caucus lunch.
"In my parents' day and age, they were sent away, they were shunned, they were called what they are. There was at least a sense of shame," Liston said of unmarried teen parents. "There's no sense of shame today. Society condones it . . . I think it's wrong. They're sluts. And I don't mean just the women. I mean the men too."
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports on reactions to Liston's remarks:
Rep. Stella Garza Hicks, a Colorado Springs Republican who was at the meeting, said afterward she was “disturbed” and “offended” by his use of the term “sluts” to refer to young people who have to live with a mistake they’ve made.
“I feel that he owes the apology somewhere, whether it’s to the same group that he spoke to before or someone else,” said Garza Hicks, who did not confront Liston at the time because she said she was so surprised by the statement. “There’s got to be something brought out of this that it doesn’t happen again."
Colorado Health Foundation senior program officer Lorez Meinhold said shame has been shown to do little to change values and behavior.
Instead, she said, state leaders should look at the lack of public programs that are aimed at preventing teen pregnancy. She said that United Way of Greater Milwaukee dedicates $900,000 per year to such programs and that Wisconsin is in the bottom 10 states for teen pregnancy rates.
Agree with Liston's remarks?