Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate, is as “pro-life as any candidate can be,” Fox News reports. However, as Diana Hsieh and I have pointed out, the allegedly “pro-life” position, which would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs for reasons of religious faith, is in fact profoundly anti-life. I didn’t need any additional reasons not to vote for McCain, but his selection of Palin reaffirms some of the reasons I’ve already given.
The religious right is ecstatic, as The New York Times reports:
Social conservatives were relieved and highly pleased.
“They’re beyond ecstatic,” said Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. “This is a home run. She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith. And she is really one of the bright shining new stars in the Republican firmament.”
Ms. Palin is known to conservatives for choosing not to have an abortion after learning two years ago that she was carrying a child with Down’s syndrome. “It is almost impossible to exaggerate how important that is to the conservative faith community,” Mr. Reed said.
Obviously, a Down’s baby is precious to his mother and has the same legal rights as anyone else. The choice properly belongs to the woman whether to bring a fetus with Down’s to term. However, given the severe problems associated with the disease, and the possibility of detecting it early in a pregnancy with modern medicine, certainly it is perfectly moral for a woman to get an abortion under such tragic circumstances. But apparently the religious right grants Palin some sort of special moral status for having a Down’s baby, as though tragedy and suffering itself were the mark of goodness and political competence.
I don’t think McCain’s pick is going to do what he hopes it will do. If anything, it will drive Hillary’s supporters to more loyal support of Obama. And it will only further alienate independents and secularist Republicans, who are growing increasingly weary of faith-based politics.