Mona Charen

Sarah Palin is no ordinary pro-lifer. She is an attractive, intelligent, ambitious, successful woman who has actually lived her convictions. Told that the baby she was carrying would be handicapped with Down syndrome, she and her husband made the only decision their consciences would permit -- to welcome this child with the same love they would give to any other. That decision is comparatively rare in America. Fully 80 percent of parents who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome in their unborn children elect to abort. But it's not unusual at all among committed pro-lifers. I have met many in the course of speaking to pro-life audiences. And for every couple that has chosen life for a handicapped child, there are thousands and perhaps millions more who have abjured prenatal testing because under no circumstances would they abort their children. I cannot count the times I've amazed pro-choice people with the news that there are even waiting lists of couples who stand ready to adopt Down syndrome babies.

The example of people living their principles by embarking on the undeniably difficult path of raising a handicapped child is a hard one to dismiss. In fact, it's hard not to admire. Don't most of us, deep down, really think that the most humane and honorable thing is to treat all life as sacred? Even if you are not religious or have no belief in God -- doesn't it appeal to an enlightened humanism to give support and love to the handicapped? In fact, most pro-choice people probably treat the handicapped with terrific compassion and care. They doubtless support civil rights legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act, additional school spending, and generous Social Security benefits. They'd be the first to hold the door for someone in a wheelchair, and they'd be friendly toward anyone with obvious mental retardation.

But for themselves, they would abort. And there stands Sarah, Trig Palin in her arms, a beautiful ambassador for the path of humility, duty, honor, and grace. It's no wonder she was in their crosshairs from the get go.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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