Friday, September 5, 2008

Sarah Palin's Family Values

Our potential VP, Sarah Palin, has a set of well-articulated first principles regarding childbirth and raising families. She has put forth these believes without hesitation and they provide her ideological appeal to the right wing Evangelical base of the Republican Party. These first principles are 1) abstinence only education, 2) a ban on secular sex-education in the public schools, 3) prohibition of abortion except in the case of an imminent threat to the life of the mother (and this seems to be only grudgingly accepted), and 4) disapproval of any means of contraception.

These positions basically entail the following – if an underage child becomes pregnant she should carry the fetus to term. A further corollary of this way of thinking is that the father of the child should take responsibility for his behavior, marry the mother and support the family. Without passing judgment on the appropriateness of any one of these believes lets look at the consequence of their articulated acceptance. Given the biological realities of adolescence, promotion of abstinence only sexual behavior, without recourse to any other form of sex education and with an aversion to the use of condoms or other birth control devices will willy-nilly produce a significant number of teen pregnancies.

Under Palin’s ideology the prohibition of abortion precludes the teenage mother from any real choice as to whether or not to proceed with the pregnancy. The infant hence will be brought to term. After birth the pressure will be for the family to rally around the mother and child and force the young father to marry the mother, promoting the notion that the mother should for-go her education and rear the child at home. The only alternative would be to give the child up for adoption, in which case the teen mother has basically served as a baby factory, enslaved to produce the infant as a commodity to be dispensed with after birth.

For Palin and her ilk this would seem to be an unlikely outcome. The young family will then have to either rely on the resources of the adults to survive or the father will have to seek employment in a low paying job. In order to make ends meet there would be a great incentive for the young husband and father to enlist in the armed forces for the benefits that would accrue to the young couple.

When you combine Palin’s evangelical belief’s regarding abortion, contraception, and family values with her staunch support of the NRA and other similar stands, the picture that emerges is a tacit endorsement of teenage pregnancies and teenage marriages, with stay at home mom’s home schooling their children in creationism and other biblical fantasies while the fathers go off to wage war in the Middle East against the diabolical heathens, in preparation for the end days. These are the type of family values implicit in Palin’s ideology, which might find residence in the White House if worse comes to worse.

More on this topic can be found at Slate.

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