Monday, April 20, 2009

Sarah Palin: Pro-Choice At An Anti-Choice Event

Thank you, Sarah Palin, for your stirring support of reproductive choice--at an anti-choice fundraiser in Indiana, no less:
"So we went through some things a year ago that now lets me understand a woman's, a girl's temptation to maybe try to make it all go away if she has been influenced by society to believe that she's not strong enough or smart enough or equipped enough or convenienced enough to make the choice to let the child live. I do understand what these women, what these girls go through in that thought process."

Palin has grabbed headlines and warmed right-to-lifers hearts on sharing her story about being “tempted” to “make it all go away” when she discovered she was pregnant at the age of 44, and then again on learning that the fetus had Down’s Syndrome. As Ruth Marcus writes in today’s WaPo,

For the crowd listening to her at last week's dinner, Palin's disclosure served the comfortable role of moral reinforcement: She wavered in her faith, was tempted to sin, regained her strength and emerged better for it.

As for those us less certain that we know, or are equipped to instruct others, when life begins and when it is permissible to terminate a pregnancy, Palin's speech offered a different lesson: Abortion is a personal issue and a personal choice. The government has no business taking that difficult decision away from those who must live with the consequences.

Palin and her followers do seem purposely stupid about the whole “choice” issue. Sarah Palin had a choice. Her daughter Bristol had a choice. They seem to spend a lot of time talking about the choices they made, even at events where they are trying to take that choice away from everyone else!

This is incredibly, shockingly incongruous. And it kind of illustrates how the anti-choice movement really doesn’t want to end choice--doing so would end the pro-life cash cow that keeps themselves and a lot of conservative groups and candidates in business.

Think about it: if Sarah Palin had her way and abortion were illegal, there would be no Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet, which

started with approximately 100 people attending in the late 1980’s and has grown to become the largest pro-life banquet in the world with attendance of 2,000. 

(This year, an additional 2,500 got to watch a “live-feed” broadcast of the event at a nearby auditorium for $16 a pop, too.)

There would be no fundraiser. There would be no stirring testimony from a politician with presidential ambitions. No passionate speeches about how Sarah Palin understands the “temptation to make it all go away,” so she’s really like the rest of us, just another working mom, yada yada.

None of this would exist because there would have been no choice. There would be a law, and your only choice is to follow the law or break it. And since Sarah Palin is a politician, she would never give a stirring testimony about how she was tempted to break the law.

No, the decision would have been made for her and everyone else by the law, and Sarah Palin would have to find another issue to foist on the people of Evansville, Indiana, another hook from which to hang her political aspirations.

What’s interesting is that no one, save a few bloggers and a Washington Post columnist, even bothered to recognize the inherent contradiction of Palin’s entire speech.

It’s really quite simple: you don’t talk about the choice you made at a dinner where the point is to raise money to take that same choice away from everyone else.