Monday, September 01, 2008

Sarah Palin's Pregnancy

A lot of rumors have been flying around the Internet blogosphere this weekend regarding rumors that Sarah Palin's 5-month-old son isn't actually her son, but her grandson - the child of her 16-year-old daughter. These rumors have been supported by a variety of circumstantial evidence - most notably the fact that Palin didn't appear pregnant, even as late as 6 or 7 months into the pregnancy, pictures of her daughter with a "paunch" taken around the same time, her daughter's timely excusal from school for 4-5 months because of supposedly having mono, and Palin's inexplicable decision to give a speech in Texas, then fly all the way back to Alaska, then drive to a rural hospital in Wasilla, all after her water had broken - a total of some 15 hours. In addition to that, the hospital where the baby was born, apparently, has no record of a baby by that name being born there that day.

While this is interesting and compelling circumstantial evidence, it appears to just be a smear campaign. I've seen some pictures, apparently, from late in Palin's term, where she DOES appear to be showing (although it cannot be denied that she was strangely flat-tummied as late as 7 months into the pregnancy). I suppose if there is any substance or truth to this rumor, it will eventually come out.

Be that as it may, I think an important facet of Palin's personality has been revealed by these stories. Namely, that she made a remarkably poor and selfish decision in choosing to return all the way to Alaska to have her child, when she was already going into labor in Texas.

She was there, in Texas, giving a political speech, and was about 8 months pregnant. Her water broke, and she began leaking fluid. She decided, however, to go ahead with the speech (even though any doctor will tell you that you absolutely MUST get to the hospital immediately upon the breaking of your water). Then, after the speech, instead of going to a Dallas-area hospital, she boarded a plane for an 8- or 9-hour flight back to Anchorage, including a stop-over in Seattle. After arriving in Anchorage, she still didn't go to the hospital, but instead drove to Wasilla, where she finally gave birth something like 15 hours after her water broke.

It doesn't take an OB/GYN to tell you that this was a remarkably bad decision. Not only did it put her own health in danger (particularly considering that she - at 44 - is in a "high risk" category already), but it also put her unborn child in unecessary danger - especially since she already knew the child had Down's syndrome.

Supporters of Palin might suggest that it shows what a "tough" woman she is, but I believe it shows what a foolish and self-centered woman she is. What reasons could she possibly have had for waiting? Obviously she wanted to give that speech. Obviously, too, she wanted to give birth in the hospital of her choice. Not very good reasons for putting your own health, and the health of your child, in jeopardy.

Would any average woman do what she did? If you were going into pre-term labor, a month early, at 44, with a Down's syndrome baby, would you wait 15 hours before going to the hospital, including getting on a plane for an 8-hour trip? Furthermore, if you DID do such a thing, wouldn't it be reasonable to say you were acting selfishly, rashly, and without good judgment?

There are many reasons to be uncomfortable with the selection of Palin as a VP candidate - the primary of which is her profound inexperience. This situation simply adds another black mark to her record - a record that has very little of quality to someone who is not a gun-toting, pro-life, anti-environmentalist.

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