Smart Read

Palin’s Choice

Trig Palin, who has Down syndrome, earned his mother plaudits from the pro-life crowd. The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg points to a pro-Palin blog post at National Review Online: “Some estimated 90 percent of Americans faced with the knowledge that they might give birth to a child with Down Syndrome wouldn’t have made the choice she and her husband, Todd, did to let the child live.” According to Hertzberg, this shows that pro-lifers have implicitly accepted a basic premise of the other side: Palin carrying Trig to term was a choice—and the choice was hers to make, not God’s or the government’s. But if Palin truly believes that abortion is murder, Hertzberg writes, then for her it wasn’t a choice, since it wasn’t an option—and she no more deserves praise "than I deserve praise for not having lately gunned down any friends, colleagues, or strangers." Hertzberg’s conclusion: "Even in the minds of anti-abortion zealots, abortion is now implicitly viewed in the same light as divorce: an unfortunate choice, a reprehensible choice, a choice that may even contravene the will of God, but still a choice.”