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.