Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sarah Palin is pro-choice

As far as I can tell, Sarah Palin’s position on abortion is the pro-choice position. In the extended quotation below, from her interview with Katie Couric, I have placed some key terms in italics, to emphasize how compatible her position is with pro-choice.

"Palin: I am pro-life. And I'm unapologetic about my position there on pro-life. And I understand good people on both sides of the abortion debate. In fact, good people in my own family have differing views on abortion and when it should be allowed. So … I respect people's opinion on this.
Now, I would counsel to choose life. I would like to see a culture of life in this country. But I would also like to see taking it one step further. Not just saying I am pro-life, and I want fewer and fewer abortions in this country. But I want, then, those women who find themselves in circumstances that are absolutely less than ideal, for them to be supported for adoptions to be made easier. For more support given to foster parents and adoptive families. That is my personal opinion on this.
Couric: But, ideally, you think it should be illegal …
Palin: If you …
Couric: …for a girl who was raped or the victim of incest to get an abortion?
Palin: I'm saying that, personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in. And, um, if you're asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not. That's nothing I would ever support.
Then, now, some may characterize my position as being extreme, because I am pro-life … and I want women empowered to know that, you know, we can help them. They can be strong enough, and they can have the resources provided them to give that child life.

Notice the language: She would counsel against abortion. That is not the pro-life position; the pro-life position is that abortion should be criminalized. She would personally advise against it. Many of those who are pro-choice would likewise advise against abortion in some cases. I suspect that some would advise against abortion even in the most egregious situations. The issue is not whether one is for or against abortion: it is whether abortion should be criminalized. Palin believes it should not be: she is pro-choice, whatever she calls herself.

Pro-choice is not “pro-abortion,” a term that masks the real nature of the debate. No one is “for” abortion. It is always an act of erasure, an acknowledgment of, to use the mildest of terms, a mistake. It is always a tragedy, a loss. It is an acknowledgment of something gone wrong: No one is for that. Those of us who are pro-choice are not for abortion. Many of us would, like Palin, counsel against abortion, and like Palin, if the people involved decide otherwise, however grieved we might be by their decision, we would not have them be treated as criminals. The debate has so far veiled the fact that one can be “against abortion” in principle and at the same time against criminalizing abortion.

Sarah Palin’s position is to “counsel a person to choose life …”. She would "not want anyone to go to jail." She is pro-choice.

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