Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

Palin and family values

One thing I keep seeing over and over as I read reactions to Bristol Palin's pregnancy is that Sarah Palin supports "anti-woman" policies (and that "Feminists for Life," an anti-abortion group is an oxymoron).

This frustrates me. (On Sunday, Tallessyn was ragging on Carolyn -- good-naturedly -- for taking her husband's name when she got married rather than hyphenating, and I said, "Feminism is about allowing all women to make their own choices," and she said, "No, my way or the highway," and of course she was joking, but I honestly do feel like.)

If you Google "Feminists for Life," the tagline that shows up is "Promotes a feminism that embraces nonviolence and the equal rights of all human beings, including the unborn." I've seen plenty of arguments that vegetarianism is a feminist issue -- advocating for the vulnerable and all. Do I think the rights of the mother trump the rights of the unborn? Yes. I look at abortion as justified homicide -- tragic, but sometimes necessary. (I don't think there's a "bright line" at which a baby becomes a human being -- especially with medical technology advances such that "viability" is earlier and earlier -- and my Christian beliefs incline me to believe a baby is a beloved creature of God from the moment of conception -- and actually from even before, in the sense that God knows us before we are created, cf. Psalm 139. My pragmatism inclines me to support abortion anyway.)

I want all women to have access to safe and affordable abortion if they become pregnant. I want all women to have that OPTION available to them. I want abortion to be "safe, legal, and rare," as the catchphrase goes. I think that if abortion were criminalized, people would continue to have abortions but they would be paying black market prices and would often be endangering their own lives. I think this would be a worse thing than the situation we have now. (Incidentally, I want "illicit" drugs to be legalized so they can be regulated -- safer substances, better knowledge as to what they contain -- and then distributed/purchased in public. I think the criminal justice system is better served focusing its energy/money on people who are doing real harm to individuals/society. I also think making things legal takes away that taboo allure. See also, the European model of exposing kids to consuming alcohol as a normal thing with no particular cache to it.)

I want comprehensive sex ed in all schools, starting at an early age. I want men and women growing up knowing the options they have to protect themselves against STDs and pregnancy (and I want contraception to be affordable and accessible) and I want them growing up with the self-confidence (and the communication skills) to be able to have meaningful conversations with their (potential) sexual partners (about everything, not just contraception and "what if the woman gets pregnant," but about what sexual activities they feel comfortable engaging in, being able to tell their partner when they want to stop or when they want their partner to change what they're doing, etc.).

In his DNC speech, Barack Obama said, "We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country."

One InstaPundit reader talked about adoption and said, "that's the often overlooked component in all of this. . . .what's the best choice for the baby, not what will make the adults 'feel' better right at the moment."

One of my friends wrote:
And sometimes when people are surprised by a pregnancy, they can adapt, and pull their shit together, and make it work with a baby. And sometimes they cannot. And I cannot think of a way in which an unwanted child festering for years in an orphanage; or an abusive, ill-equipped home; or the overburdened foster care system; is less cruel than a small medical procedure.

I guess I think more about the women involved, and the children, than I do about the potential babies. But that's between me and my god.
Atrios posts:
Compassionate Conservatism

Palin style.
ST. PAUL -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.
Just think about this one for a moment. Palin is rabidly anti-choice, wanting it to be illegal in all cases except when the mother's life is threatened. This is a program which provides housing for teen mothers "in need of a place to live," presumably due to the fact that their parents and sperm donors are somewhat less than supportive. Despite this, these young women choose (that word!) to have their babies. And the program which might give them, and their newborns, a place to live is something Palin cuts the funding for. Maybe they can go live with the bears.
From Shakesville (hat tip: ann1962):
We need to replace "she should stay at home and be a mother to those kids" with "how can society and our communities best support the needs of real American families."
Another blogger writes:
Sadly, I only wish for all the girls in this country that the respect and care Governor Palin is extending to her own daughter was reflected in the policies and attitudes of the political party she now represents at its very highest level. This is a party that discourages providing health information to young people that can prevent unintended pregnancy (as well as some pretty serious diseases), but then too often shames and stigmatizes women of all ages who find themselves raising children alone.

Governor Palin's announcement about her daughter acknowledges the unique challenges of young motherhood, and explicitly refers to the extra support that her daughter will require. However, Sarah Palin now leads a party whose policies in no way acknowledge the same for the many other girls across the country who are in the same position as Governor Palin's daughter - young women who are in urgent need of access to prenatal care, affordable housing, childcare, and the financial option to continue their educations beyond high school.

I am also disturbed to see that Bristol Palin is now becoming something of a poster child for the anti-choice movement. They are holding her up as a symbol for their cause. Honestly, as much as right wing pundits are criticizing the left for their approach to this matter, I believe it's the right which should be ashamed. Making any individual teenage girl into a brand-name martyr for your highly contentious political cause is about as low as you can go. Although the details are obviously different, it reminds me of that movie Citizen Ruth.

Via InstaPundit, I read this piece on evangelical reaction to the news of Bristol Palin's pregnancy. Excerpts:
"For me personally, it hit my heart this morning," Sharkey told me, "because I was a 17 year-old girl, just like Sarah Palin's daughter, and I had — I was in those shoes. And my son is with me, who will be 35 years old next week, and so I know what a difficult road there is for her."


Earlier in the day, just after I heard the news, I called Marlys Popma, the well-known Iowa evangelical leader who is now the head of evangelical outreach for the McCain campaign. Like Sue Sharkey from Colorado, Popma had a story to tell. It turns out she had had a child out of wedlock nearly 30 years ago, and it changed her life. "It was my crisis pregnancy that brought me into the movement," Popma told me. "My reaction is that this shows that the governor's family is just like so many families. That's how my first child came into the world, and I'm just thrilled that [Bristol Palin] is choosing to give this child life."

I asked Popma what she thought the larger reaction among evangelicals will be. "Their reaction is going to be exactly as mine," she told me. "There hasn't been one evangelical family that hasn't gone through some sort of situation. Many of us are in this movement because of something that has happened in our lives."
The writer of this article argues:
The Left will fight this battle as a political debate. They will argue that Bristol Palin proves their assertions about traditionalism. They will lay it out point by point. The evidence will be solid. And their case will make sense — in theory.

But this is not theory, and to a certain extent its not even politics, this is life. Steve Schmidt is not wrong when in reaction to the news he says, “Life happens.”

Life does happen. It happens again and again to people in rural America who go to church, work and pray hard. Everyday life happens. Despite their prayers, it happens.

The Left simply misunderstands the Cultural War because they believe that social and religious conservatives think they are perfect people. Rural, working class people know exactly who they are. The Left seems to think that they are somehow breaking the news to social conservatives that sometimes, even often, kids will have sex and get pregnant. Social conservatives know these things. They are not as divorced from reality as they sometimes get painted.

You see, conservatives have code by which they live that accounts for it all. Whether they are “right” or “wrong” is immaterial. It is the Left’s misunderstanding which is important here.

Conservatives know they are imperfect. Instead of embracing the imperfection and “giving up” they instead prefer to strive for something better.

Now, whether this outlook is conservative outlook is true or untrue, healthy or unhealthy is, again, not the point, politically speaking. Telling the American working class that Sarah Palin was wrong to have tried to bring up her daughters by a code in which she believed and that Bristol Palin’s unborn child is the proof that the Left’s arguments about traditional life are true will not resonate with anyone who is not already an Obama voter.

The Left cannot win this Battle of Bristol. The more they try to win it, to demonstrate they are right, the more they will lose ground with those voters they desperate need to stay home or vote for Barack Obama.

For what the Left sees as hypocrisy, most folks who are not Obama voters just see as falling short. As, of course, we, as humans, all do.

Bristol Palin’s journey is a human story. She tried to be good. She fell short. Instead of aborting the baby she will carry it to term and marry the father. To socially conservative America, there is nothing tragic about this.

You see, to many of the voters Barack Obama has not yet seemed to reach and who have thus far been ambivalent about McCain, this is exactly how these things are supposed to go. Their reality has not been shaken, the scales have not fallen from their eyes.

Sarah Palin did nothing “wrong.” And Bristol Palin did nothing other than sin, which we all do. She is now managing her sin as prescribed by tradition. To the traditionalist the situation is not ideal, no, but it is not a disaster.

This is a human story. The more the left attacks, attempts to expose “hypocrisy”, the more the personal will very much become the political. Unfortunately it will become political in a way that leads all those hard working Bubbas, all those church-going single mommas, right out to the polls to vote for that war hero and and those women they now identify with, Sarah and Bristol Palin.
The pullquote from InstaPundit was:
Bristol Palin has single-handedly dealt the Republican Party its winning hand. With an economy in decline and an unpopular war started by Republicans, Bristol Palin's unborn baby has now made the Culture War the focal point of this election. This is one ground and, in fact, the only ground on which Republicans can win this election.
to which my response was: *facepalm to infinity* DO NOT WANT. One of the last things I want is for the next two months to contain nothing but incessant discussions about "family values." Way to make me phear going back to UCN in a couple weeks and talking politics. (I'd actually been looking forward to it before this. I really do not want to have to argue that really not all Obama supporters support the smearing of the Palins.)


From "The Libertarian Case for Palin" by David Harsanyi (via Ann Althouse):
Even when advocating for "moral" issues, Palin's approach is a soft sell. Palin does not support gay marriage (neither does Obama, it should be noted). Yet, in 2006, Palin's first veto as Governor was a bill that sought to block state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples.

We cannot bore into Palin's soul to see her true feelings about gay couples, but, at the time, she noted that signing "this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office" because it was unconstitutional. For most libertarians, the thought of politician following any constitution, rather than their own predilections, morality or the "common good," is a nice change of pace.
I'm not especially compelled, but I thought it worth noting.
Tags: issues: abortion, issues: feminism, issues: sex ed, issues: u.s. presidential race: 2008

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