If you’ve been trolling the political blogs over the weekend, you must have heard the rumors about Sarah Palin’s son born with Down’s syndrome was in fact her daughter’s kid. I instantly rubbished those rumors and found them to be distasteful especially for Democrats who value privacy of their candidates’ families although Palin’s behavior when her water broke while she was in Texas and her daughter’s eight-month absence from school due to a infectious disease seemed suspicious. Obama and his campaign gratefully is condemning such personal insinuations. But the truth about her daughter turned out to be something else. While it was not revealed earlier when Palin paraded her family on stage while being introduced to the nation, it now turns out that Bristol Palin, her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant. The hypocrisy of all the family values, abstinence-only education, and feminism lectures aside, one statement in the press release announcing her pregnancy revealed far more than the above hypocrisies:
Bristol Palin made the decision on her own to keep the baby, McCain aides said.
Ah! So the Palin family and the McCain campaign is using the pro-choice argument to soften the blow. As Ann Friedman at the Prospect argues, the McCain campaign emphasizes Bristol’s personal decision to keep the baby in order to convince the people that it wasn’t her mother’s anti-abortion stance that made the decision. This statement from a campaign that effectively opposes a woman’s right to choose and openly supports overturning the historic Roe v. Wade decision that gives women the right to choose, is despicable. Conservatives basically deride the liberals for insinuating that they want government to make decisions for them when in fact, according to conservatism, it is individual responsibility and personal liberty that should determine a person’s fate and decisions. The pro-choice argument is in fact quite conservative or rather libertarian and should appeal to conservatives but unfortunately, the extreme right’s dominance has subverted this important issue of liberty.
The pro-life lobby as well as the media likes to label the pro-choice lobby as the abortion rights group whereas it isn’t so. Although abortion rights is an important part of the equation, it is basically about choice; the freedom of giving women the right to choose on what is best for them and their health. If they choose to keep the baby, all power to them; the society may not cast them away and may even choose to offer social, fiscal, or emotional help but if they chose to abort then respect that decision as well. But during the 2000 primary, the issue of McCain’s daughter getting pregnant had cropped up and he responded thus:
“The final decision would be made by Meghan with our advice and counsel,” McCain said, referring to himself and his wife, Cindy. When reporters suggested that this view made him, in fact, pro-choice, McCain became irritated. “I don’t think it is the pro-choice position to say that my daughter and my wife and I will discuss something that is a family matter that we have to decide.”
Which you observe is also a pro-choice argument. Friedman rightly summarizes this McCain argument – “My family and my daughter deserve a choice, but no other woman can be trusted with this decision.” Indeed a patriarchal and Nanny state argument that McCain and his ilk profess to avoiding. Similarly Palin was also asked about the decision not to abort her 13-week-old fetus who was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. She responded that there is always a choice and she choses to carry the baby to full term. Exactly, Ms. Palin, there is always a choice. I just hope you mean it when your daughter also made a similar choice to carry her baby and wasn’t a victim to your political beliefs.