Sarah Palin and feminists for life

I welcome Sarah Palin’s selection as McCain’s running mate for a mixture of reasons. From a political perspective I think her youthful inexperience and her female gender will weaken the Republican ticket (sexism, like racism is not dead.).  And anything that makes it less likely that McCain will win is good news for me.



As a follower of the church’s  peace and justice teachings I support Obama because he is committed to ending the Iraq war and to obtaining greater justice and equality for minorities, immigrants, the poor and those in need of healthcare.


Moreover, constitutional protections of the rule of law, ecological concerns and economic recovery will also be better served by an Obama-Biden administration.  While Sarah Palin is a splendid young woman her election and her political positions, like McCain’s, would be harmful to the country —with the exception of her stance on abortion.


Palin’s membership in Feminists for Life and her family witness are positive and admirable.  I also am a member of Feminists for Life and think that its “Pro-woman, Pro Life advocacy” is morally valid and the wave of the future. As a pro-life Catholic I agree with church teaching on abortion while affirming the equal importance of the other pro-life positions: against the death penalty, against euthanasia, against the war, torture, and unequal social structures.


Fortunately, with Sarah Palin’s public feminist and pro life stance it can be predicted that greater public attention will be accorded to the good work of Feminists for Life.  Similarly inclined women will hear of this movement and be inspired to join up.  And the ensuing discussions about what it means to be a feminist, and what are actually the most effective strategies to reduce abortions will be healthy.


For feminists of my persuasion it is important to puncture stereotypes and show  that  women’s different positions on abortion (or anything else,) are not determined by gender, but by conscience and conviction.  I call myself a “gospel feminist.”


I admire Sarah Palin for unconditionally welcoming her Down’s syndrome baby as an unexpected opportunity to love and serve, rather than as a disaster.  More selfishly, as an old working mother of seven, I am glad that Palin proves that having many children does not harm your health or your mental powers for getting things done.


This glowing young woman gives the lie to certain disease models of pregnancy and childbirth that tend to taint discussions of women’s reproduction. The greater truth is that having children enlarges your mind and heart and contributes to women’s flourishing—especially in old age when grown children and grandchildren enliven the scene.


So in my ambivalent accolade to Governor Palin, I must shout: Bravo, Bravo, Sarah! May you live happily ever after, and decisively lose the coming election.


Sidney Callahan

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10 years 4 months ago
Palin sure adds spice to the campaign, not much substance. She might be gung-ho pro-life but her apparent neglect of her family hardly shores up the Repug ticket with McCain's lax family values. The Palin family affairs should be personal and private - as all family issues really are - but this just reinforces the hypocrisy of the conservative idea of government has any business intruding in personal family affairs. For this soap opera episode to play out in the campaign spotlight reflects on the poor judgment of McCain. If McCain does not take the VP choice seriously, why should anyone take him seriously. McCain does not have the temperament or judgment to be president.
10 years 4 months ago
I can heartily agree with what you say. Palin can be a sign and model of pro-life anti-abortion woman even in defeat. However, I also feel caution that this woman does not reflect a full pro-life agenda and so reflects also a bad example which the Republican party is already full of. I would also question her judgment in accepting another responsibility and leaving former ones in the dust (like her family, baby, and governorship). I also agree that Obama talks of a more just and compassionate social agenda, but words are cheap compared to the deed. Can or will he do it or will we just throw our national treasure at further military adventures and business? Despite being a sort of war-monger McCain has at least taken on some military pork. I think this situation leaves the ''Catholic vote'' up for grabs.
10 years 4 months ago
Sidney Callanhan will not vote for Gov. Palin because she is against the Catholic Church's peace and justice views. What makes Sidney think Gov. Palin is against peace and justice,fair treatment of immigrants, the poor, and minorities.? .
10 years 4 months ago
I understand why the feminists disagree with some of Sarah Palin's views, like abortion, and I understand their disappointment at loosing Hillary as the first female President, or Vice President. But, now they have a real chance to elect the first ever female Vice President. A woman who exemplifies so many amazing qualities, including her successes and 85% approval rating as Alaska's governor, mother of five, and the whole nine yards. In addition to breaking the glass ceiling, Palin can finally bring about tremendous reforms for women. As International abuses keep coming to light regarding women's rights, including everything from burkas, to white slavery, to honor killings, you would certainly think that women would be tripping over themselves to elevate one of their own to such a high position. What a shame the feminists are so petty that they can't see the big picture, set aside their conflicting grievances, and make a couple of concessions, in order to progress in such a big way.
10 years 4 months ago
In the United States, the discussion about abortion is about one side accusing the other side of not respecting life and the other side accusing the other side of not respecting women. Both sides are lying. I haven't talked to a single Catholic who goes to mass where I go who isn't voting for Obama and Biden. I have asked many Catholics. Also I go to mass in Berkeley, California.
10 years 4 months ago
I am a pro-life mother and wife--but I also don't get why any intelligent American who respects life and cares about the planet and the nation would want to entrust so important a position to someone with such a simplistic outlook and so little preparation for the job. The situation in Pakistan alone, which will require a nuanced understanding of foreign affairs and places nuclear weapons near the hands of the most unstable groups of America-haters (al-Qaeda and Taliban), is not a situation I would entrust to a woman-- or man --with the skimpy qualifications of Ms. Palin. I believe there is a reason God gave us brains as well as hearts and souls! Sidney Callahan's combination of spritual sensibility and good sense are refreshing!
10 years 4 months ago
Social Justice begins in the womb. I just can't get past Obama's abortion convictions. He has stated forcefully that one of his first acts in office would be to sign the Freedom of Choice act. How that comports with Catholic teaching on justice is way beyond me. Saying one is voting for Obama because he is the lesser of two evils, both of which stand in opposition to Catholic teaching, is one thing. Trying to say that Obama and an administration filled with administrators hostile to the unborn somehow expresses a Catholic vision of justice is another. You do understand that under Obama, "universal health care" would include federally-funded abortions - which probably means "free" - for all, don't you? Such a disappointment.
10 years 4 months ago
Thank you to Sidney Callahan for articulating admiration for some of Ms. Palin's personal values while recognizing that this does ot qualify her for the Vice Presidency. I hope that the American bishops will not weigh in subtlely on this ticketnow it contains such an example of a fine pro-life woman who has such an a paucity of knowledge about the position -- as she herself admittted on July 31 -- and no experience with the complex national and international issues that the role demands. It was a bascially cynical choice of a like minded maverick who is a woman. I am not only disapointed in McCain's judgment, but his own integrity in making such a choice. And he accussed Obama of being willing to do anything to wion the presidency!
10 years 4 months ago
I agree with Sidney Callahan and hope that Palin helps sink McCain's hopes at the presidency. I'd still rather a pro-choice president who might be open to listening to the other side on abortion than a possible future president who is an evangelical pro-lifer who will probably only listen to God. That said, why are so many attacking Palin because she is a woman? Unless you have some insight into her private family life she may well be a better partner, a better parent, a better home manager than any male candidate out there. From what I've read she has done a remarkable job of balancing a challenging career and motherhood. Paul - what apparent neglect of her family are you talking about? Do you hold male candidates to the same standards? Do you think a man would be changing his baby's diaper minutes before accepting the VP slot on a ticket? Is it her fault because she is a woman that her daughter became pregnant or could this happen to a male candidate too? John Stangle, "leaving former ones in the dust" - What is the difference if you leave a governorship or a senate seat to take the job of president or VP? Why are you holding a woman to a different standard?
10 years 4 months ago
Would you be at least a little happy if McCain won and he somehow was able to get a couple of good judges to send R v W back to the states?
10 years 2 months ago
This is downright shameful. I am shocked to find a Catholic publication choosing an abortionist to be the "lesser of the two evils." I was disgusted to hear that 48% of Catholics voted for Obama. I am a Catholic first. I believe we have a holocaust of the unborn going on right now in this country to the unborn. Obama has already talked about a bill he plans on passing which would essentially force all hospitals (private and public) to offer birth control and abortions. This will have a big impact on Catholic hospitals. They will most likely be forced to close their doors rather than bend to fit in this atrocious practice. I loved being able to deliver my first baby at a Catholic hospital. I was not hounded about birth control and I felt as if my views as a Catholic were respected. It's unfortunate that this will surely come to an end. I will continue to pray for the innocent babies who are murdered on a daily basis.


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