When Governor Sarah Palin told an Indiana Right to Life banquet audience that her son Trig was a miracle, I can only imagine the standing ovation she must have received. I say this, not having attended the event, but knowing that pro-life Americans hold the conviction that every innocent person is a gift from God, and not a single one of them deserves death by abortion, regardless of the prognosis or diagnosis that the expecting parents may receive. We know that every human being is a gift, or as Palin put it, a miracle.
What surprised me was the reaction from some in the media who apparently really appreciated what Palin said about her son Trig, but for different reasons. Take for example the news report from the Washington Post, written by Ruth Marcus. The headline reads "Palin's Personal Choice."
Don't you just know what comes next!
Marcus paid very close attention to what Palin had to say about those months during which she realized that her son might have Down syndrome and felt compelled to quote Palin at length. Here is what the Governor of Alaska said:
I had found out that I was pregnant while out of state first, at an oil and gas conference. While out of state, there just for a fleeting moment, wow, I knew, nobody knows me here, nobody would ever know. I thought, wow, it is easy, could be easy to think, maybe, of trying to change the circumstances. No one would know. No one would ever know.
Then when my amniocentesis results came back, showing what they called abnormalities. Oh, dear God, I knew, I had instantly an understanding for that fleeting moment why someone would believe it could seem possible to change those circumstances. Just make it all go away and get some normalcy back in life. Just take care of it. Because at the time only my doctor knew the results, Todd didn't even know. No one would know. But I would know. First, I thought how in the world could we manage a change of this magnitude. I was a very busy governor with four busy kids and a husband with a job hundreds of miles away up on the North Slope oil fields. And, oh, the criticism that I knew was coming. Plus, I was old . . .
So we went through some things a year ago that now lets me understand a woman's, a girl's temptation to maybe try to make it all go away if she has been influenced by society to believe that she's not strong enough or smart enough or equipped enough or convenienced enough to make the choice to let the child live. I do understand what these women, what these girls go through in that thought process.
Marcus comments at the end of this excerpt from Palin's speech that "if it were up to Palin, women would have no thought process to go through."Apparently Marcus believes that even though Sarah Palin discussed her "options," and her decision making process, Palin is an enemy of "choice" and no friend to expectant mothers, but rather their adversary. Marcus actually had the audacity to describe Palin as "obtuse."Apparently, Marcus took from the speech that as a woman of moral character, Palin is actually insensitive to others or downright stupid, I am not sure which. But Marcus does give us a clue.
There is something very telling in Marcus' closing paragraph,
As for those [of] us less certain that we know, or are equipped to instruct others, when life begins and when it is permissible to terminate a pregnancy, Palin's speech offered a different lesson: Abortion is a personal issue and a personal choice. The government has no business taking that difficult decision away from those who must live with the consequences.
There you have it, dear reader. As in the case of Obama's infamous comment that understanding when a human baby gets rights was above his pay grade, so too Marcus wants her readers to know that she is uncertain about the "who" that exists during pregnancy, and that "choice" is the trump card for those who refuse to face reality. In other words, killing a preborn child should be protected by law, and nobody should take any steps to undo the wrong that aborting a child creates.
Palin grew from her experiences and her concerns but Marcus has used the words of the governor to once again obfuscate the obvious. The fact that a human being will die during an abortion has not apparently crossed Marcus' mind, which begs the question, in today's age of enlightenment, exactly who is obtuse?
There are more than a few intellectual problems with the attitudes of those who deny that a human being is present during pregnancy, and in the case of those expectant parents whose babies are diagnosed with Down syndrome prior to being born, Palin's witness is even more crucial in today's society. For as Gregory Rutecki, M.D. pointed out in a recent article on this very subject,
If a diagnosis is sought by either chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis, in the United Kingdom for example, a miscarriage incited by the procedure occurs in 1/100 women and the loss of another 300 perfectly healthy babies in addition to those with Down syndrome occurs annually. It seems as if culture has determined that there is no greater tragedy to befall pregnancy than a child with Down syndrome. So "bad" is the scourge of trisomy 21 that society deems it worth losing an additional 300 children without any apparent abnormality in their relentless effort to eradicate those with Down syndrome.
We are grateful to God for the blessing Saran Palin's courage in discussing her personal experience has been to our constant struggle to humanize the preborn child, while reminding people that not a single human being should ever be treated like yesterday's trash, regardless of their condition or state of dependency. Our throw away culture needs conversion, and people who share their deepest feelings in the manner that Palin has shared hers only advance the struggle toward personhood, toward respect for the dignity of the human person and toward appreciation for God's miracles.