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I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my nephew, Palmer. He is an adorable 1 year old, and the son of my younger brother.
My brother and his wife had difficulty getting pregnant. After a great deal of anxiety, money, and medical technology, my sister-in-law was able to become pregnant. The really exciting and amazing news was that she was pregnant with twins. My brother arrived at Thanksgiving dinner filled with elation, wearing a Minnesota Twins jersey, to announce their news. The pregnancy progressed for about three months without complication. In the fourth month the doctors advised that one of the twins was severely malformed. Just one of the many abnormalities of this fetus was a brain abnormality that was similar to hydro encephalopathy, but much more severe. The worst of the problems for this twin was that its main blood vessels were abnormal. There was a complete absence of any blood vessel leading from the heart to the lungs. This meant that the only reason that this fetus was alive was that it was getting oxygen from its mother’s blood. At birth, after the mother’s blood would no longer oxygenate the baby, it would suffocate and be dead within a couple of minutes.
Being Catholic, my brother was opposed to abortion, and was willing for his wife to carry this fetus to term, knowing the inevitable outcome. However things changed in the fourth month of the pregnancy. The “Angel Baby”, which was in a separate amniotic sac, started to accumulate an excessive amount of amniotic fluid. The baby that appeared to be healthy was starting to be compromised. The level of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac of the healthy twin was dangerously low. The doctor predicted that if the pregnancy was allowed to continue without intervention the healthy baby would die. The doctor recommended termination of “Angel Baby”. Shock, despair, and grief were just some of the feelings that consumed my brother and his wife. After consulting three other doctors, and getting the same advice from the others, termination of the “Angel Baby” was the only option if they were to save Palmer. The picture above is proof that they made the right decision. They made the decision to choose life, by terminating the pregnancy of a fetus that would have died upon birth. To the rest of the family, the decision to terminate the unhealthy twin seemed the obvious choice. However this decision, at the time, was the hardest choice my brother and his wife had ever had to make.
I share this personal story with everyone today because it is the best example I can give to illustrate that none of us are in a position to appreciate the unique situations that mothers and fathers may face with regard to terminating a pregnancy. Sarah Palin has made her right to life views known from the time she ran for Mayor of Wasilla. Of the many candidates she has endorsed, the one thing that is the common thread among all is their proclaimed stance on abortion. It appears that Palin’s view of a woman’s right to choice, or Palin’s wish to abolish that right, is the single most important issue to her. Adults and children are killed every day unnecessarily by guns. Those deaths represent the end of life for people who were able to sustain life, until someone ended that right. Palin doesn’t donate her time when she gives speeches to right to life groups, but she donated her time to the NRA. Palin suggests that war is God’s plan. Who is speaking up for, and being an advocate for, the thousands of American soldiers, civilians, and children killed in the Iraq war? Unwanted children are born in the United States and become the victims of abuse, neglect, and even death. Workers in mines and on off-shore rigs are killed due to lack of compliance with safety standards. Yet Palin advocates less governmental intrusion in our lives, even though those are each cases where more governmental involvement might have saved lives. Surely each of those tragedies, involving our sons and daughters, are more egregious than aborting a fetus that is not sufficiently developed to independently sustain life.
As a society, our values and moral judgments come with a price tag. I previously devoted an entire post to the cost to America of reversing Roe v. Wade. Our national debt has become one of the most pressing issues in our country today. The reality is that if we can’t sustain our economy as it exists now, we do not have the luxury of adding additional debt associated with unwanted children. Debt is causing collapse of entire countries, including Greece and Portugal. In our struggle to manage our debt we can ill afford to increase our debt by adding the expense associated with another war, additional entitlements, or the cost of supporting an additional one million unwanted children every year.
Unfortunately it seems that all too often the issue of abortion is associated with the notion that it is the preferred birth control method of promiscuous teenage girls. However those teenage girls must have a boy to impregnate them, before abortion is needed. Those teenage girls are women who have not had the benefit of an education about birth control, or lack the financial means to obtain appropriate birth control. The incontrovertible fact is that today in the United States premarital sex is “universal”. An estimated 95% of people engage in premarital sex. Thus 95% of the politicians, who publically advocate a “right to life” agenda, appreciate the importance of birth control education and ensuring that birth control is available. Why are those politicians, and people like Sarah Palin, who so vehemently oppose abortion, not dedicating themselves to birth control education and accessibility?
Abortion is always an emotional issue, regardless of whether you support the right to choose, or not. The critical consideration is that the choice should be personal. None of us can know how we would react if our daughters were raped or became the victims of incest. We can’t comprehend how we might react if our daughters became suicidal because of an unwanted pregnancy. It is impossible to anticipate every circumstance that might present itself, as the example of my brother illustrates. I can’t know why Lynn Vincent, the ghost writer of Palin’s book Going Rogue, made the choice to have an abortion. I don’t feel it is my place to impose my beliefs on her. If a person’s faith dictates that abortion is always evil, regardless of the circumstances, our Constitution ensures their right to refuse that option for themselves. It appears Palin was pregnant when she married Todd, as indicated by Lorenzo Benet in Trailblazer. I respect her right to choose to get married and have the baby. If Bristol chose to give birth to a baby out of wedlock as a teenage mother, I also respect her right to make that choice. However I also respect my brother’s choice to protect the life of his unborn child. Sometimes choosing life means choosing to have an abortion. We should not presume to know what is best for another. We can not, as a country, afford to make that choice for another.
(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.
It’s no secret that Sarah Palin is motivated by money. Yet it has never been as obvious as in her recent appearance in Canada. On Thursday, April 15, Palin appeared in Hamilton, Canada. I knew articles had appeared indicating Palin was receiving $200,000 for the Canadian speaking engagement, as compared to the paltry sum of $100,000 she has been receiving for her speeches in the United States, but what I didn’t realize was that the speech was originally planned to benefit the Juravinski Cancer Centre and St. Peter’s Hospital in Canada. After news articles and blogs in Canada were outraged by Palin’s scheduled appearance, the charitable causes were changed, but not the appearance. The original charities were part of Canada’s publicly funded health care system, and St. Peter’s Hospital is a facility that performs abortions. Thus the change of beneficiaries was not Palin’s doing, but the response of the organizers of the event to public outrage. While Palin had only good things to say in her speech about Canada, it seems what she likes best about Canada is not the political ideology of the Canadian people, but their willingness to pay double her regular fee. Consider significant differences in Canada, and the ideologies for which Palin purports to stand:
- Canada has a nationalized system of health care. Palin has admitted that her family relied upon Canada’s nationalized health care when she was a child, but now opposes national health care in the United States.
- Palin has positioned herself as a champion for the right-to-life movement, but in Canada, abortion is available to women as a matter of right, and St. Peter’s Hospital is just one of the many hospitals that provide that service.
- Palin has advocated in the United States the need to reduce taxes. Yet in Canada people pay, on average, more money in taxes than in the United States. In Canada total tax, and non-tax revenue for every level of government equals about 38.4% of the Gross Domestic Product, and in the United States the rate is closer to 28.2%.
- Palin has also campaigned against the rights of homosexuals in the United States. Palin has professed her belief that homosexuality is a “choice”, her opposition to gay marriage, and her religious opposition to homosexuality. Palin is clearly not a friend to the homosexual community. Conversely, Canada has a history of being more open and accepting of its homosexual community. In 2005 Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages, through the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. Even before the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act in Canada, as early as 1999 most legal benefits commonly associated with marriage had already been afforded to cohabitating same-sex couples. On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. Court decisions, as early as 2003, legalized same-sex marriage in eight out of ten provinces and one of three territories, whose residents comprised about 90% of Canada‘s population. Before passage of the Act, more than 3,000 same-sex couples had already married in these areas. Most legal benefits commonly associated with marriage had been extended to cohabiting same-sex couples in Canada since 1999.
Palin’s appearance and speech in Canada could be compared to her speech to the bowlers’ convention, and the wholesale liquor convention. All three had nothing to do with politics, or philosophy, but everything to do with money.
Two days ago, I posted a blog expressing my outrage at a recent poll reported by Newsmax, identifying Palin as “now leading the GOP field as the party’s preferred candidate for president”. (See, malialitman.wordpress.com, Money Corrupts Newsmax and Palin.) Today we have proof that Newsmax mislead us. Politics Daily reported on March 29th that “…the overall public sees her negatively, by a 55% to 37% margin”, based upon a Washington Post poll. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/03/27/palins-a-heroine-to-the -tea-party-but-gets-high-negatives-from-general-public. Seven percent of the people polled were undecided. The really frightening thing is that 37% of people still think she is the “preferred” candidate, or that 7% of people are still “undecided”. I disagree with many politicians on a variety of issues. Yet I haven’t written an entire book about them. Even though many people in the country are more conservative than I, they don’t inspire me to devote hours each day writing a blog about them.
What scares me about Sarah Palin?
- It’s not just that she lacks intelligence, but what scares me is that she doesn’t know how limited she is. She didn’t blink when John McCain asked her to be his running mate.
- It’s not just that she hunts and takes pleasure from killing animals, but what scares me is that she doesn’t seem to feel any remorse about inspiring violent behavior in people.
- It’s not just that she believes that abortion is wrong; it’s that she feels it is her place to impose her will on other women.
- It’s not that she objects to homosexuality, but that she feels it is appropriate to ban books from the Wasilla library regarding homosexuality.
- It’s not that she is a Caucasian; it’s that she seems to lack respect or appreciation for cultures other than her own.
- It’s not that she is an Evangelical Christian; it’s that she thinks the answer to our country’s problems is to seek divine intervention.
- It’s not that her pastor hunted witches in Africa, but it’s that Sarah didn’t find anything objectionable about it.
- It’s not that she is a woman, but it’s that she believes that women should defer to men in decision making.
- It’s not that she says she is in favor of cutting taxes, but it’s that she raised taxes while the mayor of Wasilla.
- It’s not that she says she is opposed to earmarks, but that she hired a lobbyist for the purpose of obtaining earmarks for Wasilla.
- It’s not that she changed her position on the Bridge to Nowhere, but that she wouldn’t admit that she did.
- It’s not that she doesn’t have a law degree, it’s that she lacks the common sense required to prevent her from spending millions of dollars building a hockey center on property the city didn’t own.
- It’s not that she has five children, but that she uses her children to gain political advantage.
- It’s not that she gives speeches around the country to right-to-life rallies, making hundreds of thousands dollars; it’s that she hired a woman to be the ghost-writer of her book who publically admits that she has had an abortion.
- It’s not just that she was found by an Alaskan investigative panel to have behaved unethically, it’s that she told the public she had been completely exonerated.
- It’s not just that she uses Trig to advertise herself as a proponent of kids with special needs, it’s that she endangered him by boarding a flight from Texas to Alaska, after her water had broken, after she knew she was in labor, and when she knew it was her fifth pregnancy.
- It’s not just that she advocates “abstinence” teaching, it’s that she was pregnant when she married, and that Bristol has had a child out of wedlock after Bristol and Levi were living in Sarah’s house when she “probably knew” they were having sex.
- It’s not that she resigned her position as Governor of Alaska to make money, it’s that in the same speech announcing her resignation she had the temerity to say that she is not a “quitter”.
- It’s not that John McCain wouldn’t endorse Palin after the election; it’s that Palin doesn’t seem to mind that McCain is using her again to endorse him for Arizona Senator.
- It’s not that she advocates “common sense conservative values”; it’s that she doesn’t seem to know what policies that would include.
- It’s not that she is a wolf, but that she wears the clothes of a sheep.
Regardless of your political persuasions, we should all be aware of the inherent dangers of Sarah Palin. A person, who pronounces nuclear as “nucular”, should never be trusted with the codes. A person who thinks Africa is a country should not be entrusted with the security of our nation. This is not about politics. It is about competency, intelligence, deceit, and honor.
“Rebuttal to the Rogue”, is available on Amazon.com. I have no ulterior motive in promoting the book as all proceeds are being donated to Planned Parenthood. This is a book that documents why Palin is so dangerous to the country, and specifically to women. How could I complain about Sarah Palin, if I weren’t willing to spend the time to document why Sarah Palin is so frightening to me? We must all work together to ensure that people know who Palin is, and what she actually DOES, instead of what she SAYS! Especially our Republican friends need to know who the real Palin is. We must make sure that we never come so close to a national disaster as we did in 2008. Please help me get the word out! Tell your friends about this book, this blog, or just why they should expect more out of a Republican candidate. I respect another person who may have an opinion different than my own. If we have fundamental differences of opinion about how to govern, I will respect the opposition…as long as it is not Sarah Palin. Please help educate the 37% of people who think she is “neat” and the 7% of people who are “undecided” that this country can not afford to have Sarah Palin as our leader. We have only 1 ½ years to educate people, so we better start today. Sarah is not blinking. We must. If you are reading this blog, you understand the urgency. If you have any ideas about how to defeat her nomination, please post them.
If you need a link to show your friends who may not have the time or inclination to read “Rebuttal to the Rogue”, just send them to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrzXLYA_e6E
If you are as tired as I am of Sarah Palin, and you just need something to make you smile, see Tina Fey on Letterman at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBAqGSbPwkQ&NR=1
See Letterman’s Recap of Palin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZsO7dZ__iw&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh+div-1r-3-HM
See Matt Damon on Sarah Palin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6urw_PWHYk&NR=1&feature=fvwp
Last Thurs. Feb. 18th a Virginia elected official, Bob Marshall, deemed it appropriate to share with the public his view of handicapped children, otherwise known to Sarah Palin as “special needs kids” and according to Levi Johnston, quoting Palin, and to Rush Limbaugh as “retarded.” Mr. Marshall explained his belief that disabled children are God’s punishment to women who aborted their first pregnancies. http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local-beat/Nature-Takes -Its-Vengeance-84970382.html. After learning of this quote, and catching my breath, questions that will haunt me for the next several days include:
- Who elected such a buffoon?
- Does Mr. Marshall think that Sarah Palin had an abortion before giving birth to Trig?
- Does Mr. Marshall think that Trig is really Bristol’s baby and thus Bristol must have had an abortion before the pregnancy of Trig? Obviously, Sarah Palin doesn’t think of Trig as a punishment. She has been able to gain a lot of sympathy and empathy from parents of special needs kids. Sarah has gained a lot of political advantage from Trig, so he is certainly not a punishment.
- Does Mr. Marshall think that God only punishes women for an unwanted pregnancy and not the men who got them pregnant?
- Is that why Palin gives speeches at right to life rallies because she feels guilty?
- Does Mr. Marshall think of kids with special needs as “punishments” to the parents instead of an answer to a prayer? (“Going Rogue” pg. 195).
- Sarah Palin reports being “flooded with unspeakable joy” (“Going Rogue” pg. 195) when Trig was born, so maybe her disabled child wasn’t a punishment? That’s it! If you love your special needs child you didn’t have an abortion, and if you think of the child as a punishment you must have aborted your first pregnancy. Mr. Marshall has insight most of us wouldn’t understand or appreciate.
I have never had a special needs child or an abortion, but I find this comment to be offensive, outrageous and indefensible. I hope that even those opposed to abortion do not believe in such a vengeful God who would “punish” any woman who would have an abortion. I hope that special needs kids do not think of themselves as a “punishment” to their mothers. I hope that in any world where “punishment” is appropriate for an unwanted pregnancy, the father shares equally with the mother in that punishment.