Palin: a Pat Robertson feminist

Q: Can you be a feminist and oppose abortion in all circumstances? Can you be a person of faith and … Continued

Q: Can you be a feminist and oppose abortion in all circumstances? Can you be a person of faith and support abortion in some circumstances?

Generally, I’m willing to accept labels people give themselves. So if Sarah Palin wants to call herself a feminist, though very different from feminists I know, I’ll go along with it.

In my experience, feminists who have worked for social, political, and economic equality of the sexes have often been called aggressive, arrogant, intolerant, militant, and mean-spirited. In most cases, such accusations have been false; but I think they ring true for Palin feminism.

Sarah Palin isn’t the only one who knows exactly what God wants of humans, and she isn’t the only one who wants to outlaw any actions that she or he knows with absolute certainty would displease God (see which of the above feminist accusations fit). Palin calls herself a “frontier feminist,” but she sounds more like a “Pat Robertson feminist.” The two of them are guided solely by their unshakeable certainty about what God wants. The good news, in this regard, is an equality of the sexes; the bad news is that both sexes can be sadly and dangerously mistaken.

Speaking to members of the Susan B. Anthony List, Palin described how she’d had doubts about whether she would be able to handle a baby with Down syndrome. She “chose” to have the baby because of her certainty that “God will never give us something we can’t handle.” Similarly, Sarah Palin said of her unwed and pregnant teenage daughter, “For Bristol, choosing life was not an easy decision.” Note the implication that both members of this advantaged family had the choice on whether to have an abortion, and chose not to. Sarah Palin claims that her God made sure these choices worked out well for her family, and she would like to see other families prevented from making a different choice. However, “One choice” is an oxymoron.

Palin failed to mention the countless deaths of women who knew their lives would be in danger unless they had an abortion, or the women who wanted to prevent their hopelessly deformed fetuses from being brought to term only to suffer and die soon afterward. Palin may sincerely believe that those dead pregnant women and deformed babies pleased God and today are frolicking in heaven, but that does not give her the right to feel morally superior to other women with very different theological views.

I don’t know if Sister Margaret McBride considers herself a feminist, but she is closer to my brand of feminism than Sarah Palin. McBride had the courage to agree with the ethics committee at her hospital to allow an abortion that would save a mother’s life. For this heroic act, McBride was “automatically excommunicated” from her church. Interestingly, this nun would have remained a Catholic in good standing had she, instead, molested a child and confessed her “sin.”

The bishop’s reaction to an abortion that saved a mother’s life is just one more example of why thinking people should ignore or run as fast as possible from immoral and heartless teachings of the Catholic Church.

Herb Silverman
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  • DAN46

    The “Pat Robertson feminists” oppose not only abortion, but often birth control as well. Yes how can women ever hope for social and economic equality without easy access to birth control. This proves we’ll never move forward by relying on selective interpretations of Iron Age theology.

  • eal1

    It’s so difficult to have an intelligent, responsible discussion regarding serious issues when the topic must always be connected to some theological tenet. The merits of a woman’s right to choose stand on their own and require no assistance from any religious belief. Palin considers herself knowledgeable about religious matters, because she’s held a bible and even read it on occasion.

  • YEAL9

    Some famous adoptees:Andy Berlin – entrepreneur: chairman of Berlin Cameron & Partners

  • gimpi

    Mr. Silverman,Thank you for commenting on the health risks involved in pregnancy. For some reason, we seem to mostly focus on abortion as a choice, which it can be. However, it isn’t always. Sometimes carrying a pregnancy to term can kill a woman. Sometimes a fetus simply won’t survive outside of the womb. And sometimes some people who consider themselves ‘pro-life’ are willing to kill pregnant women (and doctors, I note) in the name of that belief. Remember, pregnancy and childbirth are not always straightforward. Women die in childbirth. Women are rendered sterile or disabled in pregnancy and childbirth. And, tragically, some fetuses won’t ever live more than a few hours or days outside of the womb. That’s real. Does God make mistakes? A catastrophic pregnancy might just be the best evidence.

  • beersnob11123

    As amusing as the last line of the 2nd to last paragraph is, I don’t really get how you go from criticizing idiotic fundamentalists in general to closing with “…just one more example of … immoral and heartless teachings of the Catholic Church.” As fundamentally corrupt as the Catholic Church (and perhaps any organized religion) is, they do a great deal of good work for the poor and working class. Perhaps the good is the bathwater and the bad is the baby in the case of the Catholic Church, but I think you’re driving away the target audience for this sentiment as well as drifting off target.I wish you stayed on point so that I could bash Robertson instead of your essay. There’s nothing too bad to say about him–the dregs of humanity. Palin, being an ideological bedfellow, probably isn’t much different.

  • ALenMay

    Yeal9 – What’s your point?

  • fhay18

    I think you should have quit while you were ahead. If you go back to the original questions, the last paragraph didn’t seem to fit the subject, although I agree with you. Otherwise a good description of Palin feminism and a good essay.

  • MyCatsAreMyGods

    Yeal9- a very impressive list of adoptees. Please add me to the list. However, I am pro-choice. It saddens me that whenever I have a “discussion” with protesters outside of family planning clinics, I always get the same answer to the one question I ask, “How many children have you adopted?” Invariably, the answer is, “none” They stand there praying for an end to abortion but do nothing for the children that are already in this world in need of parents. I can legitimately call myself pro-life and pro-choice. I can also call myself anti-abortion and pro-family. Labels can be manipulated for one’s own purpose. I don’t think anyone wants to see this as a necessary procedure but it certainly is a necessary choice a woman should have. The people who stand in protest of abortion and a woman’s right to choose and that DON’T adopt unwanted children are the same people that stand in the way of a loving homosexual couple’s ability to adopt that said unwanted child.It is illegal in the state of Florida for a homosexual couple to adopt a child. Now THAT is a “sin.”

  • dbrown11

    For those who oppose abortion, perhaps we can sum up: “Don’t want an abortion? Don’t have one.” Just don’t let your religious point of view prevent my wife, daughter, or friend from having one (should they so choose.)And,please, don’t get into that “But, my religion is the only true religion.” Please, please, learn a little from history. People have been killing each other since the dawn of time because of this very competing claim.

  • Alex511

    fr yeal9:>Some famous adoptees:…Eleanor Roosevelt – First Lady…Nice try, but not true. Eleanor Roosevelt was NOT adopted by anyone after losing her parents when she was very young. She lived with her Grandmother Hall, but was NOT adopted by her.Read history and learn.

  • APaganplace

    It’s Roveian backwards-talk. There’s nothing ‘feminist’ about taking away womens’ rights to choose, to have autonomy over what happens in their own bodies; whatever you believe the right choice may be. The anti-choice movement does in fact simply want to remove all such choice, by calling all abortions the same as late abortions and all abortions murder, and birth control the same thing as abortions, and rape kits the same as abortions… and on and on. A feminist way to be ‘pro life’ is to focus on helping *mothers,* not in telling them to submit to men and their mouthpieces. …Like Palin.

  • Sajanas

    I am reminded of a doctor in Brazil who was excommunicated for giving an abortion to a 9 year old who was raped by her father and would have almost certainly died.I think this is a situation where belief in an afterlife isn’t a ‘comfort’. It is a draconian weapon. When you ‘know’ that someone is going to heaven, why not enforce strict rules? Why even bother with hospitals at all? The RCC should abandon their modern medicine and leave it all up to God. We’ll see who people will pick after that.

  • YEAL9

    So we should kill all babies because they might grow up and become serial killers? Or should we let them grow up in an atmosphere of love and rules to become potentially Edgar Allen Poe, Nelson Mandela et al.

  • YEAL9

    Nature or Nature’s God is the #1 taker of everyone’s life. That gives some rational for killing the unborn or those suffering from dementia, mental disease or Alzheimer’s or anyone who might inconvenience our lives??? We constantly battle the forces of nature. We do not succumb to these forces by eliminating defenseless children!!!!!With respect to saving the life of a mother vs that of her and her husband’s child”With modern technology, that situation is a rare event. When it does occur, the decision should be a made by the mother and father of the child. With no father in the picture, the decision should be left to the mother or her parents if the mother is incapacitated.And it is very, very disturbing that we give legal protection to the fertilized eggs and the developing young of protected animal and insect species but give no legal protection to our developing young ones.Again, some famous adoptees:Andy Berlin – entrepreneur: chairman of Berlin Cameron & Partners

  • YEAL9

    Or should we let them grow up in an atmosphere of love and rules to become potentially Edgar Allen Poe, Nelson Mandela et al. ???????

  • PSolus

    “So we should kill all babies because they might grow up and become serial killers?”Your mythian belief system prevents you from thinking logically.You might want to stick to knocking on wood, throwing salt over your shoulder, or whatever it is you do to ward off the bogeyman.

  • ALenMay

    Yeal9 – I’ve continued to ask you what is the point of your list. You refuse to answer. I simply added to your list. My point in adding these people to your list is not to say that we should kill babies because they may grow up to be serial killers, but to point out how worthless (and pointless) your list is. Stay on topic, please.Because the discussion here has been about pregnancy and abortion, I have to assume that your list is meant to show some of the wonderful (and not) people the world would have missed, had they been aborted. However, just because someone is adopted doesn’t mean he or she was an unwanted pregnancy. In fact, many (most?) of the adoptees here were not adopted because they were an unwanted pregnancy, but because something happened to their parents after they were born. So your list is pointless because it has no bearing on abortion, and worthless because there are good AND bad people who were adopted. That’s MY point when I added those names to your list. I was simply commenting on the list itself and its value – I was NOT commenting on adoption or abortion itself.Thanks for the discussion, though. It’s been fun.

  • pelicanwatchcb

    If Sarah Palin is a feminist, I’m a Rosacrucian!