Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Because she is sooooo pro-life

This isn't a post attacking Palin. In fact, I think her supporters are doing her a dis-service. My impression when I see her with Trig, when I read the things she has said about him, is that she loves him very much. I keep hearing that he is evidence that she is pro-life, which of course she is. Still, when people say that Trig's existence testifies to her commitment to her political values, it strongly suggests that that is the only reason she would have continued with the pregnancy.

I mean, who would give birth to a child with Down Syndrome unless they HAD to? Right?


I don't know what she and Todd felt when they learned they were expecting a child who had Down Syndrome. Presumably they worried about all the things that any parents would worry about. What are the chances that my child will be able to care for him or herself as I age and become less able to care for him or her? What will happen if my child cannot take care of him or herself? Who will take care of my child if that happens? Is the alternative seeing my child die young?

Other questions or course, but I know those would be foremost on my mind. I don't imagine I would think, "would it be a terrible thing to bring a child with Down Syndrome into this world?" or "do I want to work as hard as I would have to to care for a child with special needs?" I would probably think, "Will the work to care for this child eventually fall on my other children's shoulders, and would that be fair to them?"

I am pro-choice. I am 45. Roland and I have taken steps that pretty much guarantee we will not have any more birth children at all. I do not expect to have to answer those questions. But if I did, I would want to have the baby. I would not continue with the pregnancy because I believe that the other choice was immoral.If I did choose to end the pregnancy, it would be because of the answers to the questions above. I would be worried about what needs my kid would have in 15 or 25 years and whether I would be able to meet them. I would be worried about whether anyone else would do so.

If I knew the kid would be okay, that the society I live in would make sure that my kid would be okay even if I wasn't, I would want to have the baby. I would be glad I had the choice and that is the choice I would want to make.

So why is it that the religious right sees the birth of Trig as noble and evidence of a philosophical commitment, rather than just the birth of a wanted baby?

Is it because they think that living with and raising a child like Trig is so intrinsically difficult or unpleasant that someone would only do it if they thought they HAD to? Or is it because in the world as they envision it, Sara and Todd have no right to expect help? Perhaps the reason they know it takes courage to decide to have such a baby is that they know how little assistance Sara, Todd and especially Trig can expect to receive.


  1. I could not agree with you more. I am pro-life, but I still hate the way people talk about Trig. I do not view him as a testimony to Sara Palin's commitment to being pro-life. I view him as an innocent little baby who is lucky enough to have parents who choose to bring him into this world (whatever the reason). Maybe Sara and Todd never discussed aborting Trig, my husband and I wouldn't have if we had been pregnant with a child with a special need, but regardless, the decision to have him was not about political gain. I am sure of it (no, I do not them - it is just a gut feeling). It may have been based on their beliefs or it may have been an I can do this attitude.

  2. The media is sensationalistic and not a good representation of the majority's views. They need stories and to blather on endlessly to keep people watching. This was just something for them to talk about.

    I'm pro-life and what you might consider religious right but don't see anything spectacular in her keeping Trig. He was a wanted baby. Of course she would keep him. There are people that would abort for Downs, absolutely.

    I haven't seen her use him for political gain in any way other than to say she would bring an understanding of special needs to the whitehouse. The medai is who has been throwing the pro-life stance as a reason for keeping him around.

    For those of us that love a child with Downs, having a mom of a kid with Downs in the white house is not such a bad thing.

  3. Deni,

    You are probably right. It was an Andrew Sullivan post that set me off.

  4. Thank you for putting into words something that has made me so uncomfortable. Luckily I've never heard Palin herself say anything like that about her son. But the media and her supporters have... and it's disgusting.

  5. There are fruit loops on both sides of any given debate... unfortunately all they seem to manage to do is pit us normal people against each other by stirring stuff up!! lol

  6. I was ranting about this just the other day. I am also pro-choice, and I am pretty sure I would also have chosen to have the child in that situation. I realize there are some interesting and difficult discussions around the short and long-term social effects of early diagnosis and terminating special needs pregnancies. But how incredibly offensive to imply that the only reason anyone would continue a pregnancy in that situation is if they had no other option.

  7. Its funny that so many people who are pro choice say they wouldn't abort a child with disability.

    However, its funny, because most of the "moderately" pro life (?) or on the fence pro-choicers surveyed recently (don't ask me where, can't remember, old age brain fart, sorry) said the cases they could make for abortion would include: result of rape/incest, child with genetic disability, life of mother/child in danger.

    I think that's interesting. I've somewhat refrained from commenting, because I'm both liberal and conservative, depending on the issue (I'm sure, like most people).

    But I'm adamant about being pro-life. Period. No exceptions. I'm sorry for cases of rape and incest, but to me, 2 wrongs don't make a right. I've worked in the NICU, seen the 22 weekers defy all odds to life successful happy lives (granted, some have disabilities that exist, but even full term "normal" babies face those sometimes). Disabilities are a fact of life, we simply cannot eliminate them, and after the life exists and is growing is too late IMO to try to stop the issue. As for the life of the mother, well, jury's still out. I read a pro-choicer who worked in a clinic say that often, they considered the "emotional" health of the mother to be equally as important as physical health, so it truly made me wonder how often abortions were occurring to "save the life" of the mother, referencing only her emotional need to no longer carry the pregnancy to term. Anyway, off the soapbox, sorry.

    I think part of the reason the Repubs are toting the birth of Trig is because the reasons for allwoing abortion differ by the party alignment.

    From what I've read/heard, most Dems feel the right to choose belongs to the carrying female- her right to endure the weight gain, the difficulty of childbearing/birth, and the puzzlesome quandary of what to do with the unplanned/unwanted/unprepared for child after the birth. Itsmore of an issue with the woman's right to control what occurs with her body (which IMO is why they make Depo Provera, with relatively no side effects, and very conveneint and affordable).

    For Repubs, especially those rooted in Judeo-Christian, Muslim, Catholic or Mormon religions (which comprise the majority of the party according to demographic studies, I believe) there seems to be an unspoken ackowledgement that life begins at conception. Hence, a different moral quandary- when is it ok to take one life? Well, only to save another.

    The "quality of life" issue also comes into play, hence the "merciful" (and no I don't support this) decision to end problematic pregnancies.

    So I think you find most Repub's will deny the need for abortion, even fight against it, but when it comes to their teen daughter being knocked up or their own pregnancy having problems, its a bigger stigma than they desire. So they may secretly abort, as opposed to Dems who are proud of the women's right....etc etc.

    So, the decision to carry Trig to term carries quite a bit of hidden meaning to most REpubs. It shows that she puts her money where her mouth is, that maybe because she's fought the fight and chose the good road, that she'll be more likely to fund ethical research to help prevent /correct birth defects and genetic abnormalities, instead of taking what a lot of Repubs see as the cowards way out- abortion. End the problem and it goes away (granted post abortion trauma to the mother lasts years in some cases, but thats a whole other issue) Most of the card carrying Repubs I know tend to preach about Dems and 3rd generation project kids using abortion as a form of birth control, manipulation of a woman to hurt a man, etc. Mostly, it seems its just "convenient" because they didn't "plan for this one".

    laws a mercy I hope I didn't start a bonfire here, but I'm all for both sides being presented.

    And no, I don't classify myself as a straight Repub anymore. I believe in greater services to preserve families, in better schools and public facilities, in more governemnt oversight in businesses, especially industries pulluting the environment and in greater govt control over regulation of toxic chemicals, etc. I also believe in more balance between the economic classes/levels, even if it means changes to the tax code and/or other incentives.

    But I am, and always will be, pro life.

  8. I am pro-choice. I am, however, aganist eugenic/selective abortion.

    I know some people get upset when they have a child with a disability because our society is so ablelist. So let's work on the society, and let those with disabilities be born and live and contribute to society, and THEN let's concentrate on curing non-life threatening disabilities.

    I know a lot of times, when a women has an abortion, there are many, many reasons to have she has one. I wonder how many are coerced into having one after pre-natal testing shows the child has a disability?


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