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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Palin Pregnancy Uproar

Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin identifies herself as a prolife feminist. Now I do not understand how that self-description squares with her poor environmental record, or her vote for abstinence-only sex education (among other things). But evidently (as of 2006, anyway) she is pro contraception. And to all signs, she has personally responded to not only her own but her daughter's crisis pregnancy as one hopes a prolife feminist would.

The US is all abuzz about the just publicly disclosed unplanned pregnancy of her 17 year old Bristol. The governor and her family decided to make this disclosure in the wake of ugly rumors that she was actually the grandmother and Bristol the mother of Trig, Sarah's baby born earlier this year with Down Syndrome.

The rumors evidently first got publicity from a diary posted on the liberal blogging site Daily Kos. It has since been removed, but, wanting to go to the source and form my own impressions, I saw it before it was.

I think people of any political school could agree, it was pretty low down. Some of the inhouse comments on the diary said as much, questioning whether this was slander and do you really want to sacrifice a teen just to bring down a candidate.

But others exulted about the Antichoice Harridan 'n' Hypocrite Exposed!, even saying that Gov. Palin shamed and used her daughter and took credit for not aborting the baby so she could look like a big fat antichoice saint and make others feel guilty for having abortions.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama responded to the uproar in a dignified manner. He pronounced candidates' families and especially their children (he is a protective father) off-limits in the campaign. And he promised to fire any of his own staff who spread around any of the abovementioned rumors. Barack did note that his own mother gave birth to him at age 18--suggesting even further sympathy with the Palin clan.

I think the whole onslaught against Sarah Palin and her daughter just goes to show, in a writ especially large fashion, the point Linda Naranjo-Huebl made in this blog not two weeks ago about the onslaught of ugly judgments still heaped on women with crisis or unplanned pregnancies.

I can only hope that Barack Obama's empathy for the Palin family-- along with Sarah Palin's now fully public welcome of not only her own fetus with Down Syndrome, but her pregnant daughter, and unborn grandchild-- will suggest something to the US collective consciousness/conscience. Namely, that there are other and better ways of responding to difficult pregnancies than such judgmentality-- whether that judgmentality puts on progressive or conservative clothes.

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