Why Trig Matters


A beautiful column by Michael Gerson this morning on the power of an infant to help open our eyes to the horror of abortion:

Of the cases of Down syndrome diagnosed by prenatal testing each year, about 90 percent are eliminated by abortion. Last year the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended universal, early testing for Down syndrome -- not just for older pregnant women. Some expect this increased screening to reduce the number of Down syndrome births to something far lower than the 5,500 we see today, perhaps to fewer than 1,000.

Say all you want about Sarah Palin's non-existent record on foreign policy, series of public lies, non-existent vetting and absurd, unprecedented shielding from the press. At least we know this for sure: she went through the psychological, emotional and spiritual test of eight months of pregnancy and a painful, difficult, endless labor for a cause she believes in.

Trig represents in one simple, indelible image one mother's decision not to do the expedient thing. Tyler Cowen was right when he wrote at the very outset:

There is one biographical fact about Palin's life that the critics (Drum, DeLong, Yglesias, Klein, Sullivan and Kleiman are among the ones I read) are hardly touching upon.  I mean her decision to have a Downs child instead of an abortion.  This is the fact about her life and it will be viewed as such from now through November and perhaps beyond.

I agree (and I have said so from the start). Some people talk about the culture wars. Other people live them. And Palin did it at some risk to herself. A Down Syndrome baby at 43 is no cake-walk. There could have been many complications. Palin, moreover, was the governor of a state - at the peak of her career. Unlike most pro-life women, Palin had to be prepared for such a public pregnancy and take the small risk to her unborn child of an amniocentesis.

Despite what some on the far right believe, I am not a woman and not the governor of a state and have no idea what the experience of an inconvenient pregnancy is. But I do respect someone who walks the walk of their ideals - even if their career is in full swing, even if there are dangers to the pregnancy, even if her own family is unfortunately lit up by the klieg-light of attention. In this ecision, Palin was both pro-choice and pro-life, which is where I come down on this issue. She didn't force anyone else to have this child by law. She made the choice herself - with all the possible consequences.

My hat is off to her. I this respect, if on nothing else, I think both pro-choice and pro-life people can agree.