Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made a surprising admission recently that she had considered having an abortion after learning that her son Trig would have Down syndrome.
Speaking before the Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet in Evansville, Ind., Palin delved deep into personal matters she has shied away from in the past. She avoided using the word "abortion" in her speech, preferring to use the phrase "change the circumstances."
When she learned of Trig's diagnosis, while on an out-of-state trip, Palin said she thought, "Wow, it is easy. It could be easy to think maybe of trying to change the circumstances. And no one would know. No one would ever know."
Ultimately, Palin said she decided she was going to have to "walk the walk" and remain faithful to her long-standing opposition to abortion. But she said that the experience had helped give her an "understanding for … why someone might believe it would be possible to change those circumstances. Just make it all go away."
"I had just enough faith to know that trying to change the circumstances wasn't any answer," she said.
Palin used her own "moment of doubt" to illustrate her support for carrying pregnancies to term, regardless of the circumstances. She prayed during her pregnancy for the strength and compassion to love a baby with an extra chromosome, she said.
"The moment he was born, I knew that moment my prayers had been answered," Palin said.
"Trig is a miracle, and he has brought amazing and surprising happiness and great, great perspective," she said. "He is the best thing that has ever happened to me."
Palin's frank remarks were greeted warmly by attendees of the dinner and could bind her even more tightly to those who oppose abortion, the executive director of the National Right to Life Committee said.
"I think everyone of us, every human being, has had it go through their mind, the possibility of an act they know is wrong — and then rejected," said David O'Steen, adding, "I'm not surprised that a woman unexpectedly pregnant with a child that would have disabilities — and of course the pressure in our society today is to kill that child…. so that had to have gone through her mind."
Her remarks underscore, he said, "that she is very forthright, very honest. It also shows she's a person who, when tried and tempted, will make the right decisions."
Steven Ertelt, editor of a news service for opponents of abortion and president of Right to Life of Wyoming, said in an e-mail, "Sarah Palin excites the pro-life community because she understands, …, that human life should be protected and that a pregnancy is not a 'mistake.'"
Kim Lehman of Iowa Right to Life, said that she was impressed by Palin's remarks.
"She was tested, tried and chose life. It goes to show her character," said Lehman.
Palin's dinner appearance before an audience of between 2,000 and 3,000 was her first major public appearance this year. She was accompanied to the banquet by her husband, Todd Palin.
[Posted at 6:12 PM ET on Apr 17, 2009
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/04/17/antiabortion_groups_applaud_pa.html?hpid=topnews; Garance Franke-Ruta]