According to the NYT today, the Palin campaign has refused to give any interviews or provide any documents with respect to Sarah Palin's health records. Like her refusal to hold a press conference in the campaign, this makes Palin uniquely shielded from accountability in modern times. But there is a public record of what Larry Altman called in the NYT today "the much-discussed circumstances surrounding the birth of her fifth child last April."
So here goes. What follows is all from the public record - from the Anchorage Daily News and the New York Times in three articles here, here, and here. I recommend the originals rather than this summary. I've added some context by talking to leading obstetricians about medical questions I am not competent to answer. It's a remarkable story, whatever your take on it. Since this person could well be the president in the next four years, it may be worth your time to ponder the narrative she has laid out.
We do not know when exactly Sarah Palin discovered she was pregnant at age 43.
We do know that she says she had an amniocentesis to determine for genetic abnormalities. That test, routinely used to determine if an unborn child will be aborted, discovered that Trig had Down Syndrome. Around 90 percent of such babies are indeed aborted. But Palin, admirably to my mind, chose life. The test, however, is also a serious if small risk to the life of the unborn child. The risk is calculated between a 1 in 200 and 1 in 1500 chance of precipitating a miscarriage. Very, very few pro-life activist women agree to an amniocentesis because it can endanger the life of the unborn child with no tangible benefits for the child. Other risk-free methods of predicting the chance of Down Syndrome exist - but would occur later in pregnancy or would not be as accurate. Palin says she decided to take the risk to the life of her unborn child to help prepare her mentally for the task of raising a child with special needs. And, at 43, with Down Syndrome much more common among the offspring of women in their forties, such a test would be routinely offered.