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(Part 1 of 2)
Abortion is the only topic more controversial than politics and religion, perhaps because it involves both. Sarah Palin is a staunch supporter of the right-to-life movement. She is not supportive of abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger. Even in the case of rape or incest, Palin opposes abortion. As early as her race in 1996 for Mayor of Wasilla, Palin made abortion a part of her campaign. Until that time the race for the position as Mayor had been compared to a friendly intramural contest among neighbors. Even if you didn’t know who Sarah Palin was before the night of the Republican Convention, as of that evening Palin made sure everyone watching would know that she had a special needs child. Trig has become a constant reminder of Palin’s position on abortion.
Palin often gives speeches, for which she is, paid $100,000, and in which she suggests that abortion should not be a choice. In those same speeches Palin has advocated the importance of balancing the budget; she has opposed Obama’s health care initiative, referring to it as “Obamacare”and “nonsensical”. Thus people pay Sarah Palin $100,000 to tell us that we should insist on balancing the budget that we should oppose virtually all forms of abortion, and that health care should not be provided as a service to those citizens in need of it. As Palin gets wealthier, our country goes further in debt. For a minute, disregard the philosophical issues of abortion, and simply consider just how unrealistic it would be to prohibit abortion, balance the budget, and limit the cost of health care.
First consider the cost of an abortion compared to the cost of delivery. In Dallas, Texas, the cost of a routine abortion is less than $500.00. A normal vaginal uncomplicated delivery costs $5,000-$8,000.
The cost of raising a child only to 18 years old, EXCLUDING college, is between $125,000 and $250,000.
In 1976 Congress passed the Hyde Amendment which excludes abortion from the comprehensive health services provided through Medicaid. Under the new health care law recently passed, federal funds are only available in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
In 2006 there were 4.3 million child-birth related hospitalizations of women costing an estimated $14.8 billion in hospital costs. Forty-two percent of the costs associated with maternal-childbirth related hospital stays ($6.3 billion) were billed to Medicaid.
Approximately half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. When considering the cost of having an unwanted child it is essential to consider the cost to society during the child’s lifetime. Additional considerations should include:
Women who gave birth as teenagers make up nearly half of the welfare caseload. This group of women is less likely to have high school diplomas, and they are more likely to have larger families. Both of these characteristics increase the likelihood of being among the poorest welfare recipients.
The strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison was that the criminal was raised by a single parent.
The five states, New York, California, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii which embraced a woman’s right to an abortion for two years before Roe v. Wade, realized an earlier 13% drop in their crime rates than the rest of the nation (Dubner and Levitt 141).
The states with the highest abortion rates in the 1970’s experienced the highest crime drop in the 1990’s (141).
In the 1990’s there was a clear downward trend in the numbers of teen pregnancies. The trend has now reversed, and 7% of teen girls got pregnant in 2006, which is an increase from 2005. Given these incontrovertible statistics, we know that more teenage girls are getting pregnant, and the mothers and their children present an increasing financial burden on the U.S. economy. This burden includes not only the cost of the delivery of the baby, welfare, Medicare, education, criminal court costs, but also the cost to society of additional crime and the cost of a dramatic increase in the prison population. Given the growing concern over the national debt it would seem that voters would choose either reduction of the national debt or anti-abortion as primary issues, but not both. The two are unquestionably inconsistent. It is clear that when the government gives a woman the opportunity to make her own decision about abortion, she generally does a good job figuring out if she is in a position to raise a baby well (145).
The incontrovertible conclusion must be that the cost to our country of reversing Roe v. Wade would be dramatic. When our politicians or a commentator with Fox News suggests that they are proponents of over turning Roe v. Wade, they are necessarily advocating an increase in governmental expense for entitlements, for prisons, for education, and they are guaranteeing an increase in crime in the United States. That’s a guarantee I don’t want.
Newsmax magazine, the beacon of modern thought, and progressive intellect, in its wisdom has labeled Sarah Palin as a Leader of the “Newer Feminism”. As a woman, a wife of 25 years and mother to three children, I never wanted a sex change operation until now. Newsmax identified Palin as an “icon of the new feminism.” If she represents feminism, I don’t want to be associated with that group. Obviously the Newsmax headline was not written by a woman. This impression was confirmed upon a little investigation into the make up of the Newsmax team. Out of 11 Newsmax editors, none are women. The editors at Newsmax must have failed to notice that in the election of 2008, the majority of the voters for Barack Obama were women. Eight million more women than men voted for Obama. Just because Palin is a woman, it doesn’t necessarily follow that she was the woman’s candidate. Maybe I don’t need a sex change operation after all. I know Sarah wrote a letter to herself, from “Trig’s Creator”, and it clarified so much for her. Maybe if I write a letter to Sarah from the “Creator” of women it might clarify some issues for her. If I send a copy to Newsmax, perhaps they will understand that women have advocated for a decade that gender should not be the reason for our votes, a promotion or the amount of money paid to someone. Sarah understands that God doesn’t make mistakes, and neither did the 35,900,000 women who voted for Barack Obama.
I know you have been busy lately, so understand that I am trying to help you realize your place in the American society. You serve a very valuable purpose, which is to remind men and women around the country of the type of woman that most women find embarrassing and humiliating. For decades we have listened to dumb blond jokes, but these jokes are old and frankly, not very funny. You have single-handedly created job security for Tina Fey for the foreseeable future (that means as long as we can imagine). Issues that are the most important to anyone who considers herself to be a feminist would necessarily include:
FAIR PAY – You explained in the 2008 campaign that you were opposed to women being paid the same as a man, if she was working the same job, and performing that job as well, or better, than her male counterpart (that means the male worker) as indicated by your opposition to the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Women have been fighting for equal treatment in the workplace for over 100 years. When you said you were supported the Supreme Court’s decision in the Ledbetter case, where the Court found that Ms. Ledbetter was not entitled to sue her employer of over 20 years for intentionally discriminating against her, you didn’t look like a feminist, or even a person with two x chromosomes. Your only reason for supporting disparate pay for men and women (that means women are paid less than men for the same job) was that attorneys might make money off of their representation of women who had been treated unfairly. Frankly Sarah, this position would have been enough to end your career as a politician, but I guess you knew that when you resigned. You were smart enough to know that your career as a politician was over. You knew that “no” you would not seek higher office, or you would have finished out your term as Governor (Palin 381).
Since you resigned you position as Governor you have realized a windfall of $12,000,000.00. This was my gift Sarah to you so that you would leave women alone. Don’t let anyone say that you represent the majority of women. It’s now time to show me that you appreciate all the money I bestowed upon you. Don’t let anyone else say that you are a representative of feminism.
REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM – Sarah, I know that previously you have said that you were “pro-life”. Let me explain something to you. Sometimes, protecting life, means allowing a woman to make the best choice for her. You can’t always know what the circumstances might be in that woman’s life. For example, when a woman is pregnant with twins, and one baby is determined to have abnormalities that would prevent him from living outside the womb, and that baby is preventing the healthy twin from developing normally, an abortion may be necessary to save the life of the healthy twin. If a woman has been raped, and can’t live with the idea of carrying, giving birth and raising the child of the evil perpetrator who raped her (that means the rapist), she might consider taking her own life. Certainly she is the only one to appreciate the importance of protecting her own life, and an abortion might save her life. I know you are not in favor of allowing a woman to choose, even in the case of incest. However many girls who are the victims of incest are children and it would be dangerous for them to become pregnant at such a young age. If their reproductive organs are so damaged by having a child at such a young age, they may not be able to have children later in life. I know you have five children, but some women might want to have just one, at the right time, and victims of incest might not have that option when adults, if you prevent them from having a choice when they are children. Thirty Seven years ago the United States Supreme Court recognized that it was a woman’s “fundamental right under the United States Constitution” to terminate or continue a pregnancy in the first trimester of a pregnancy. The Court explained in 1973 that this decision is one that “should be made between doctor and patient, not legislated by the government.” Roe v Wade 410 U.S. 113(1973). This is still the law. You are not a doctor and you are not part of the government, so it is not your “choice”.
At the time of Roe, the Court was comprised totally of men, and only two Justices dissented. Until the decision in Roe, women who wanted an abortion had dangerous, illegal abortions or traveled to one of four states in the entire country where the procedure was legal. Thus women who were pregnant and had money could afford to travel to have such a procedure performed, but women of limited financial means would seek dangerous procedures, performed by someone other than a medical doctor. Many women lost their lives. I know you now have plenty of money, but consider the woman who can’t afford groceries for herself, or her children, and may be feeling desperate. The people you support help that woman “choose life” but they don’t help provide any financial support for that woman or child afterwards. They don’t even want to pay for health care for the child.
Ninety five percent of people in the United States have had pre-marital sex. Given these high percentages, I am not condemning you for not abstaining before marriage, and I am not condemning Bristol for saying that abstinence is “not realistic”. You might learn from my example, and stop condemning others.
EDUCATION – Sixty percent of all bachelor’s degrees and half of all PhD’s are earned by women (“A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything”). In 1963 the “most generally approved role for women” was homemaking. Over 50 years later, in 2009 half of all families in this great country, where people love their freedom, have come to rely upon the earnings of two parents (Ibid). In 40% of families women are the primary breadwinners (Ibid). I know you won the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant, and obviously education was not important for you. Maybe it also was not important for Todd. However, for most women education is extremely important. Education is the key that unlocks a life of dependence for women. Without education a woman may become dependant upon a man or her family indefinitely, as you have seen with Bristol. If a woman becomes dependant, she and her children may become unable to remove themselves from an abusive relationship with a husband or parents. Even if education has not been important to you, it is to most feminists.
MOTHERING – From the moment you paraded Trig before the Republican Convention holding him as a prop; it seems that you have forgotten that I didn’t want people to focus on the fact that Trig has an extra chromosome (Palin 186). Did you think I gave Trig to you just so you could take advantage of the sympathies of other people? You have dragged Trig to book signing events barefooted and in his pajamas, when you were warm in your coat and hat. I heard the despair in Bristol’s voice when she called you explaining that it was bad enough that Wasilla knew of the pregnancy, but now the “whole world knows” (Palin 234). John warned you it would be hard on your family, but you didn’t seem to care (Palin 220). You have taken Piper out of school multiple times, even to the beach in Hawaii, when school was in session. The worst thing was your flagrant disregard for the health and well being of Trig. When you knew you were in labor with your fifth child, your water had broken over 12 hours before, and the flight back to Alaska would be at least 10 hours, how could you board(not a board made of wood) a plane in Texas, taking the chance that Trig would be born during the flight. Even if the flight attendants and the people in the airport lounge didn’t know you were in labor, I knew.
Studies have shown that even though women are professionals and are as educated as our male counterparts, (meaning men in the same roles) women are more willing to “downgrade” their careers to enable them to spend more time with their kids (“A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything”). Many women define success as living a balanced life, not necessarily making the most money (Ibid). Sarah, honey, it would be o.k. if you didn’t want to have children, and devote yourself to making money. It would be o.k. to be a stay at home mom and have five children, and devote yourself to the kids. It is NOT part of my plan for you to have five children, one of whom has special needs and to utterly fail to meet the needs of any of your children.
Trig’s Creator, You Heavenly Father (Palin 187)
I think I will send this letter to Newsmax by overnight delivery. It will be cheaper and more expeditious than having a sex-change operation.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. Sarah Palin might be the very type of person about whom Dr. King warned us. Maybe the candidates endorsed by Palin share similar character traits.
Sarah Palin has been seen traveling around the country in a private plane for the purpose of endorsing political candidates for various offices. Some of us would find it embarrassing to be endorsed by Palin given the many embarrassing things Palin has said, and the fact that she is no longer a politician (she quit…even though she is not a quitter, and she still insists upon being called “Governor”). One logical question might be: Does her travel by private plane indicate that her income has risen sufficiently beyond that of the Governor of Alaska (remember her comment about selling the Governor’s plane on e-Bay at the Republican Convention) to justify such an extravagant expense? Even though she appeared at book signing events in a bus, we realized later that she was flying in a private plane and being met at the airport by the bus. At least the bus gave her the appearance that she was a common person. Certainly we can agree that she is no longer a common person, and has become part of the “elite” which she has been so quick to denounce. So what good is she doing with this new-found celebrity status? Who merits the endorsement of Sarah Palin?
My favorite endorsement by Sarah Palin is that of the “bizarre and outlandish” Michele Bachmann, Representative from Minnesota.
Palin’s wisdom and intellect in her choice of candidates is best illustrated by quotes of Bachmann:
“There isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas”.
“We have a gangster government”.
“Not all cultures are equal. Not all values are equal”.
“If you are involved in gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage.”
“Because it is important that we put men and women of God into
office in our government, amen. And I don’t want any more letters
about church and politics don’t mix. If that’s your opinion, then
you need to get saved…”
Maybe Palin and Bachmann share a common view of religion, and maybe Palin could give Bachmann some pointers about how to identify witches. I bet they agree on the importance of God in politics. Maybe Palin and Bachman also share a common view of civil rights. Certainly Palin has herself been identified as having “bizarre and outlandish” behavior and comments (i.e. writing on her hand, waving to Russia, suggesting that she has seen human footprints inside a dinosaur’s footprint, and even reference to “two Sarah’s …one that is perky and one that is morose and non-responsive”).
Because Sarah’s website doesn’t list candidates she endorses, or policies that are important to her, we might question what the common thread is for each of the politicians that she endorses. Palin has endorsed Rick Perry, Governor of Texas. Like Todd Palin, Perry advocates secession from the United States. Like Sarah Palin, Perry doesn’t seem to put a premium on education, so maybe ignorance is something they share. Governor Perry has turned away millions of dollars in federal aid for education in Texas. It appears that he, like Sarah, doesn’t mind that Texas and Alaska are two of the lowest performing states in the educational achievements of our kids.
A closer review of all the candidates endorsed by Palin reveals one common thread. Each candidate Palin endorses suggests that women should not have reproductive freedom. These people can’t accurately be called right to lifers as the fact of abortion has been known to save lives. The health of some women may be compromised by a pregnancy, and thus an abortion may actually save the life of the mother. In the case of my brother’s son, an unhealthy twin pregnancy necessitated termination of one twin in order to save the life of the healthy twin. I now have a nephew who would not be alive today if not for the termination procedure of what my brother called the angel baby. For my nephew, his right to life was dependent upon the termination of his twin. My brother and his wife chose life, and terminated a fetus that would not have lived outside the womb.
Sarah Palin and those candidates she endorses condemn all people who choose to terminate a pregnancy for any reason. Sarah seems to feel it is HER job to dictate what other people do, even if the United States Supreme Court has recognized that it is a fundamental civil right of every woman to decide for herself whether to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester. Contrary to the wisdom of the United States Supreme Court, Palin seems to feel she should be able to impose her beliefs and values on the entire country.
There is one noticeable exception to this philosophy. Palin is also endorsing McCain, and he is pro-choice. Maybe if a person causes a financial windfall for Sarah, values become extinct like the dinosaurs. Another example of the persuasiveness of money to Palin would be the choice of ghostwriters for her book, “Going Rogue”. Of all the people Palin could have chosen to be her ghostwriter, Sarah chose Lynn Vincent, who herself admits she had an abortion.
Most of us would respect McCain and Vincent’s attitude regarding abortion, but it is ironic that the two people who have helped Sarah make the most money have each embraced the right of a woman to make the right choice for herself. Palin appears as the keynote speaker at right to life rallies making hundreds of thousands of dollars for appearances. The only logical conclusion is that Palin is a pro-life proponent when it is financially rewarding to her. If we have not been clear about what motivates Sarah Palin until now, surely it is now crystal clear! Character, values, and virtues (the subject of her next book) seem to take a back seat to financial rewards.