Should Bristol Palin's Baby Have Been Put Up for Adoption?

04/12/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston split seems to have re-ignited the old arguments about abortion, birth control, hypocrisy etc.

But now that it's clear, in hindsight, that this relationship wasn't likely to result in a happy, intact marriage, there's another question we should be discussing: under what circumstances should a teen mother give up a baby for adoption?

The whole political debate has assumed that there were only two choices -- keeping the baby and having an abortion. Given the long waiting lists of people trying to adopt, wouldn't offering the baby for adoption have been just as compassionate as raising the child alone?

I'm not trying to be judgmental or pick on poor Bristol. There are plenty of good single parents, and sometimes the woman has no choice.

But there's a bigger issue here: when teenagers get pregnant and have no intention of getting married, should parents view keeping the baby and putting up for adoption as equally appropriate decisions? Or should we be encouraging the teens to take the step that would enable that baby to have a non-teen, married, mother and father?