Sarah Palin was in Milwaukee Friday Nov. 6th to speak before the Wisconsin Right to Life group. At the end of her speech she presented the group with a check for $1,000 and encouraged attendees to join her new club Sarah’s Rogues to donate $1,000 too. Certainly most of them have an extra $1,000 sitting around right now and would be more than thrilled to be one of Sarah’s Rogues.
Although the event was closed to the press and attendees were told no cameras, no cell phones, no electronic devices and no note taking, no laptops, no audio recording devices and so on, we were still able to pick up from various sources the bulk of Sarah’s speech. One thing that seems to be a common theme for Palin when speaking to these right to life groups is to remind them that she had a difficult choice to make when she learned of her son Trig’s Down Syndrome.
While most would expect if she is so pro-life what choice or decision she had to make. If she’s pro-life all the time, then she wouldn’t have needed to consider a thing, correct?
But we learned for the first time at her speech to the Indiana Right to Life group that she did have a choice to make. She told the Indiana crowd that she had to choose to keep her baby, that yes thank the lord she has the right to choose whether to proceed with her pregnancy or to terminate the pregnancy. She chose to proceed (although many now believe she was never pregnant with Trig in spite of the MSM saving the bombshell for bigger times)with her pregnancy.
Yes, you heard right Sarah had a choice. Just like the choice she would like to see removed for any other woman in the country, but for Sarah having a choice meant everything.
Sarah Palin speaking in Milwaukee, WI 11/06/09
But each time Palin decides to share with another pro-life group her experience as a woman carrying a child with a permanent and challenging disability the story never appears to be told the same way twice. In Indiana she tells the group she was out of town at a gas and oil conference when she first discovered she was pregnant (yet didn’t know she was pregnant with a ds baby) that right then and there she contemplated ending the pregnancy. Not once she discovered her child would be born with an extra chromosome that would make his health and life and a challenging one, but before that moment.
As reported in Indiana:
“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 convenience 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.”
A Wisconsinite that attended the speech this past Friday noted that Palin made these remarks to the Wisconsin group:
“Two years ago I had an ultra sound. I was 12 weeks along. The technician said she saw boy parts. I was like, yes, what could be better than a little baby boy? Then she said the baby’s neck was thicker than usual. I was like yes, that’s great. Then I thought, oh oh. I recall the fear, knowing what a thick neck may mean. More tests. My baby had Down Syndrome. What is amazing is who this child is. My family’s life is so much richer because of this beautiful baby boy named Trig. He’s awesome! Groups like this affirm the value of every life.
That is what I had to hold onto – that seed of faith—when I was afraid.
We know that 80-90% of Down Syndrome babies are aborted. They’re aborted because they live in a society of some people’s idea of perfection, not God’s.
Today I thank God for all of these circumstances. I never thought I’d be asked to walk the walk. It took me a while to get there through my pregnancy. I asked God and I asked Todd, “Why us?” Todd said, “Why not us?”
I want to help you help people to be less afraid and make this world more welcoming for every baby.”
But interestingly enough neither of those versions meet with the version she and Todd told reporter People reporter Lorenzo Benet who interviewed the Palin family before Sarah Palin was selected by John McCain as his running mate. She and Todd spoke to him about the circumstances of the pregnancy, diagnosis of Trig’s condition and how the family dealt with. Benet then went on to write the book Trailblazer based on the several interviews he’d done with Palin and her family. People magazine was Sarah Palin’s preference for press announcements and articles about her family so one can assume it was quite easy for him to begin collecting information.
In “Trailblazer”, starting on page 181, Benet said:
“Sarah kept mum about the pregnancy until October.
Todd had figured it out but was discreet enough not to say a word. When Sarah finally gave him the great news, she said with a shrug, “Life is full of surprises”, she told People magazine. Todd was ecstatic. He had already wanted another son, friends said, and his oldest boy had just signed up for a stint in the Army, and the country was in the middle of a war. There was no telling what might happen if Track were called to serve in the theater, which he eventually was.
For the next five months, Todd and Sarah kept the pregnancy a secret. Any thoughts of breaking the news early to their kids were scuttled when Sarah learned her baby had Down syndrome after having amniocentesis at thirteen weeks. Todd was away working when her family doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, called with the news. Sarah drove over to Johnson’s office, discussed the implications, and received some reading material on the disorder. Then she headed home to ponder her fate.
Over the next couple of days, she read everything she could on the disorder. (…) Some children cannot speak until age four, and half of the infants are born with a hole in the heart, as was the case with Trig. If the holes don’t close, surgery is often required (Trig, fortunately, avoided surgery).
(…) There was never any question about keeping the baby, and Sarah explained later that the one reason she did amnio was simply to be prepared for any eventuality. It was time, she said, to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
When Todd returned from his trip, she broke the news to him gently during a quiet moment at home. Tears welling in her eyes, she said: “The good news is we have a boy. But we have a challenge.” Unwavering in his support, Todd said: “Awesome! I am getting another boy.”
It may not have been part of their plan, the couple believed, but certainly it was part of a greater plan. “Why not us?”, Todd said. Sarah continued keeping her secret from the public and her children. Not discussing the pregnancy with her daughters, she felt, would shorten the process for them and spare them from unwanted attention. “I didn’t want Alaskans to fear I would not be able to fulfill my duties”, she told People.”
So the first time we hear about having an ultrasound is in Wisconsin and a technician not only felt comfortable enough to tell her the baby was not only a boy, but that it also had a thick neck which they could see at 12 weeks gestation. In the interview with Benet she gives the impression that Todd knew she was pregnant before any of the testing was done, yet in Indiana she gives a different version where Todd doesn’t know, nobody knows, yet she knows by 12 weeks that the baby will be born with down syndrome?
And despite all of the security restrictions someone was Tweeting the entire thing somehow.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Bill Glauber was at the event:
The speech marked Palin’s re-emergence on the national scene. The event was emceed by WTMJ-AM radio personality Charlie Sykes. The Journal Sentinel purchased a ticket to cover Palin’s speech.
Security was tight at the Wisconsin Exposition Center. Spectators were told beforehand that prohibited items included cell phones, recording devices, video and still cameras, as well as strollers and car seats. A line stretched across the length of the facility and out to a parking lot as spectators waited patiently to pass through security.
Once they got inside, spectators didn’t have to wait long for what they came for – Palin’s speech. The address began with Palin asking for a moment of silence to remember those killed in Thursday’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas.
As was Politico’s Jonathan Martin:
She then got a standing ovation from most of the crowd, but a few had begun to leave before she even finished and within seconds of her concluding, scores more got up and put on their jackets as they walked away.
In addition to the suggestion that government officials would consider hastening the death of the infirm or handicapped, she began her remarks with a puzzling commentary on the design of newly minted dollar coins.
Noting that there had been a lot of “change” of late, Palin recalled a recent conversation with a friend about how the phrase “In God We Trust” had been moved to the edge of the new coins.
“Who calls a shot like that?” she demanded. “Who makes a decision like that?”
She added: “It’s a disturbing trend.”
Unsaid but implied was that the new Democratic White House was behind such a move to secularize the nation’s currency.
Maybe someone should have directed Sarah Palin to the internet to the site World Religious News here she would have learned the following about the change in coins that was reported in 2007:
The national motto “In God We Trust” will move from the edge of new dollar coins honoring U.S. presidents to the front or back of the currency. A provision in the $555 billion domestic spending bill for 2008, which President Bush signed into law on December 26, calls for the change to take place “as soon as is practicable.” Greg Hernandez, a spokesman for the U.S. Mint, said the change will occur in 2009.
Even Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic while not at the event, wants to know why Sarah always has such trouble telling the same story twice about the baby she so desperately wanted to give birth to. Most mother’s never forget the moment they learn they’re pregnant and would certainly never forget the moment they were informed their precious child would be born with condition of down syndrome.
Some remaining questions: When exactly did Todd find out about the pregnancy? And when did he discover that his son had Down Syndrome? Or were those two pieces of news delivered simultaneously? Why did the Palins make no attempt to prepare their other children for Trig’s special needs when they had so long to do so? Why on earth did Palin believe that the mere fact of her pregnancy would elicit criticism and disdain – “Oh, the criticism that I knew was coming” – when it would obviously actually redound to her credit as a working mom and governor?
Maybe her “book” will resolve these and other empirical questions about the logic and detail of her pregnancy and labor stories. Maybe someone will even ask her to clarify the chronology of the critical reason for her enduring appeal. It would, you know, be relevant, if not deferent.
Something doesn’t quite add up, but with Sarah Palin there is no simple math, no logical findings, no balance and the story is never the same twice.
Wonder what the next version will be.