Sarah Palin on Abortion
Republican Governor (AK); 2008 nominee for Vice President
The NEW feminism is telling women they are capable and strong. An if keeping a child isn't possible, adoption is a beautiful choice. It's about empowering women to make REAL CHOICES, not forcing them to accept false ones. It's about compassion and letting these scared young women know that there will be some help there for them to raise their children in those less-than-ideal circumstances.
I believe this so strongly because I've been there. I never planned on being the mother of a son with special needs. I thought, "God will never give me something I can't handle."
But if you look at the oath of office that every Supreme Court justice takes, you see that it commits them to a very different standard. They pledge not to pick winners and losers based on their hearts or their "empathy," but to impartially apply the Constitution and the law.
A brilliant pro-life educational campaign from the 1990s made this point very well. It was a commercial that showed smiling, laughing children, with a voice-over that said, "All these children have something in common. All of them were unplanned pregnancies that could have ended in abortion. But their parents toughed it out & discovered that sometimes that best things in life aren't planned." It ended with the simple message: "Life: What a beautiful choice." There was no call for legal action and no guilt ascribed--just a simple message affirming life and reminding Americans that being open to life and family is beautiful.
No, I don't, not at all, Palin said.
They asked her nothing to plumb the depths of her knowledge about foreign or domestic policy. They didn't explore her preparedness to be VP. They assumed she knew as much as the average governor, and that what she didn't know, she would pick up on the fly. They weren't searching for problems. They were looking for a last-second solution.
What reassured them was Palin's preternatural calm and self-possession. Never once did she betray any jitters or lack of confusion.
"That's you, baby," I whispered to Piper [my 7-year-old daughter], as I have every year since she smiled for the picture as an infant. She popped another cloud of cotton candy into her mouth and looked nonchalant. Still the pro-life poster child at the State Fair. Ho-hum.Well, I still thought it was a nice shot, as I did every time I saw it on its advertisements and fund-raiser tickets. It reminded me of the preciousness of life.
It also reminded me of how impatient I am with politics. A staunch advocate of every child's right to be born, I was pro-life enough for the grassroots RTL folks to adopt Piper as their poster child, but I wasn't politically connected enough for the state GOP machine to allow the organization to endorse me in early campaigns.
But the debate moderator decided to personalize his hypotheticals with a series of "what if..." questions:
Q: If a woman were, say, raped...
A: I would choose life.
Q: If your daughter were pregnant...
A: Again, I would choose life."
Q: If your teenage daughter got pregnant...
A: I'd counsel a young parent to choose life & consider adoption.
I calmly repeated my answers to all o his "what-ifs," then looked pointedly to my right and my left, to one opponent, then the other. Then I returned to the moderator and said, "I'm confident you'll be asking the other candidates these same questions, right?" Of course, he didn't.
I turned to the nurse, and my eyes said more than words could have. She said, "we can't treat him until you sign consent forms because he's a minor." Of course I understood, but I still fumed inside. I even wondered out loud about why this big, strapping, nearly grown man who was overcome with pain couldn't even get a drink of water without parental consent, yet a 13-year-old girl could undergo a painful, invasive, and scary abortion and no parent even had to be NOTIFIED. The nurse seemed to agree with me, and on the spot I mentally renewed my commitment to help change Alaska's parental notification law so that our daughters would have the same support and protection we give to our children in other medical situations.
I quickly prayed about this surreal situation. I could hear the critics now: "She'll be distracted from state business."
I sighed and stared at the ceiling. And for a split second it hit me: "I'm out of town. No one knows I'm pregnant. No one would ever have to know." It was a fleeting thought, a sudden understanding of why many women feel pressured to make the "problem" go away. Yes, the timing of this pregnancy wasn't ideal. But that wasn't the baby's fault. I knew, though, what goes through a woman's mind when she finds herself in a difficult situation. At that moment, I was thankful for right-to-life groups that affirm the value of the child.
I then explained what I used as criteria for my judicial appointments, and that I chose judges who were strict constitutional constructionists, since those who were not often undermined public trust by making law from the hip.
"Alaska follows the Missouri Plan," I explained. That system of judicial appointments was designed to remove political biases from the process, but instead adds to it by limiting governors to a small group of appointees to choose from. The woman I nominated didn't pass the litmus test he wanted to apply, but the other guy wouldn't have passed it either.
A: Yes. Use me as the example of why you should, even more admittedly. My daughter, of course she is 18 years old, but has really been forced to grow up very quickly now and starting her own family and you know, life has changed so quickly for her. But if we can use this, and if my daughter Bristol can use her story as a kind of teaching tool for others, then so be it. Let us do that.
A: I do. Yeah, I do.
Q: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.
A: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.
A: I think it should be a states’ issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I’m, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now, foundationally, it’s no secret that I’m pro-life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that’s what I would like to see further embraced by America.
Former state Rep. Eric Croft, a Democrat, sponsored a state law requiring cities to provide th examinations free of charge to victims. He said the only ongoing resistance he met was from Wasilla, where Palin was mayor from 1996 to 2002. “It was one of those things everyone could agree on except Wasilla,” Croft said. “We couldn’t convince the chief of police to stop charging them.“
Alaska’s Legislature in 2000 banned the practice of charging women for rape exam kits -- which experts said could cost up to $1,000. Some supporters of Palin say they believe she had no knowledge of the practice. But critics call it ”outrageous“ and question Palin’s commitment to helping women who are the victims of violence.
Alaska has the worst record of any state in rape. The rape rate in Alaska is 2.5 times the national average.
A: I’m pro-life. I’ll do all I can to see every baby is created with a future and potential. The legislature should do all it can to protect human life.
Palin signed House Bill 29 into law today. The “Safe Haven for Infants Act” passed the State House in May and passed the Senate on Jan. 19. The bill allows a parent to safely surrender a newborn child without the threat of prosecution, as long as there is no evidence the infant has been physically injured.
Without penalty, a parent may leave the infant in the physical custody of a peace officer, physician or hospital employee, or a volunteer or employee of a fire station or emergency medical service. “All children deserve to begin their lives in a loving, protective family,” Governor Palin said. “When that fails, it is our job as a state to make sure that children are protected.”
The Commissioner of Health and Social Services said, “Unfortunately, abandonment of infants has occurred in Alaska. It is our hope that the passage of the ‘Safe Haven’ act has ended that forever.”
Palin said she would support abortion only if the mother’s life was in danger. When it came to her daughter, she said, “I would choose life.”
Knowles, responding to the scenario involving his daughter, said he would counsel her and talk to her, but it would be her decision. “I would love her and support her no matter what decision she made,” he said
A: Under this hypothetical scenario, it would not be up to the governor to unilaterally ban anything. It would be up to the people of Alaska to discuss and decide how we would like our society to reflect our values.
A: I oppose the use of public funds for elective abortions.
Palin said last month that no woman should have to choose between her career, education and her child. She is pro-contraception and said she’s a member of a pro-woman but anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life. “I believe in the strength and the power of women, and the potential of every human life,” she said.
A: I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor’s determination that the mother’s life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending another life.
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