Friday, August 29, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Palin's Choices

There will be much mention of Palin's choice to have a child with Downs Syndrome -- that when they knew during prenatal testing that the child would be born with Downs, she kept to her pro-life principles and didn't seek an abortion but now has in (her words), "a perfect baby".

Like the so-called "snow-flake babies" used as props in the stem-cell debate, this image will be manna from heaven to the evangelical pro-lifers.

I do not fault her for her choice to carry this child to term. That decision -- that choice -- was her legal and ethical right.

But there was another choice that she and her husband made: the choice to get pregnant at an age when the risk to the child was so high. Children born to women over forty carry a 1 in 100 chance of genetic defect-- specifically Downs.

With reproductive choice comes risk -- but where I differ with Palin is about the concept of choice.

Here's the truth: Republicans don't believe anyone should have to wrestle with matters of reproductive freedom. They want to ban reproductive choices for everyone.

Palin and the GOP do not believe that a woman has the right to an abortion -- even in the case of incest, rape or the health of the mother. Palin's views go further: Feminists for Life advocate elimination of all prophylactic birth control choices (unless you are in a heterosexual marriage).

I don't know enough about how the Palin's came to their choices -- to have a high-risk pregnancy or to carry a Down's child to term -- but without that full context, I will viscerally bristle at the notion that the latter choice is more ethical or moral than the reproductive choices of other women... but I fear that will be the narrative that the GOP will push (and the corporate media will dutifully repeat).

Update: The "moral" narrative is already being pushed -- shades of "innocent AIDS victims"... and of course, she played the "my son joined the Army on the anniversary of 9/11" card as well.


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