In Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s speech to a pro-life dinner in Indiana last night, she suggested that when she learned her son Trig would be born with Down syndrome, she “understood why some people would think they could change their circumstances.”
The governor’s 30-minute speech was folksy and full of digressions, but also surprisingly confessional, and she went into some detail about initially panicking after learning, 13 weeks into her pregnancy, that her son would be born with Down syndrome: “That blew me away, it rocked my world . . . It was a time I asked myself, was I going to walk the walk?”
She was on a trip out of state at the time, she said, and “just for a fleeting moment I thought, ‘No one knows me here; no one would ever know.’ . . . My amniocentesis came back and then I understood why some people would think they could change their circumstances, just take care of it. Todd didn’t even know” the results of the prenatal testing yet, so “no one would know.”
“Plus, I was old,” she continued. “And I thought, ‘Very funny, God. My name’s Sarah, but my husband’s not Abraham, he’s Todd.’” At 44, she said, she had a hard time imagining changing diapers again, not to mention “putting down the BlackBerry and picking up the breast pump.”
Though it was unclear from her remarks how seriously she considered terminating the pregnancy, she assured the audience that “we went through some things a year ago that’s helped me understand a woman and a girl’s temptation to make this go away.”
Another worry in what she called “my moments of doubt” was whether she could love the child enough. “Believe it or not, I didn’t even know what a baby with Down syndrome was going to look like or feel like.” She found the subject hard to research, she said, and “I had to ask that my heart be filled up” with feeling for her unborn son. That prayer was answered the minute he was born, she said.
“My heart overflowed. I felt a love I had never felt before. He’s brought amazing, surprising happiness; he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Remarkably personal stuff. Sadly, this is probably going to just be tossed on to each side’s pile of reasons to love her or hate her. Pro-lifers will love her all the more, because she contemplated what they see as a great evil, felt the temptation, and resisted it. I suspect the pro-choice crowd will argue hypocrisy, because she contemplated an option they consider an indisputable right.
Couldn’t somebody hear something new about Sarah Palin and say, “Wow, that didn’t reinforce what I already thought of her?”