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So Sarah Palin Outranks Me on the Morality Scale?

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The New York Times reported yesterday that Christian conservatives were gratified by John McCain's choice to run with a pro-lifer who married her boyfriend when she got pregnant out of wedlock and whose 17-year-old daughter is marrying her boyfriend now that she too is pregnant out of wedlock. I'm a pro-choice advocate who waited until college to have sex because I knew I wasn't ready to handle the consequences if I had an accidental pregnancy--which I later did, and which I aborted. Years later I had three daughters with my husband. But I'm the bad liberal and Sarah Palin is the good conservative. How's that again?

I know I'm supposed to be over the conduct that results in an out-of-wedlock pregnancy--whether Palin's or her daughter's--since conservatives don't seem to think it's an issue. But I think it's worth discussing. The Republicans can't have it both ways. I certainly didn't.

When I was in high school, I was pretty nervous about safeguarding my future. So although I had a steady boyfriend from tenth grade through graduation, we limited ourselves to mere fooling around. I knew that if my birth control method failed, I would have an abortion. I didn't want to take that chance. So I waited until I was nearly 19 to lose my virginity, and a few months later I found out the hard way that the diaphragm I had obtained from the college health service didn't fit. I certainly wasn't thrilled to have an abortion, but I knew I had done what I could to prevent it, and at a time when I was mature enough to handle it.

But if Christian conservatives really wanted a Vice Presidential candidate who toed the line, wouldn't they want someone who behaves conservatively herself and raises her children with conservative values in general? Is the only criterion that when you have an out-of-wedlock pregnancy you have the baby and marry the boy?

Republican voters who were interviewed for yesterday's Times story about their satisfaction with Palin said that they are pleased McCain chose a pro-lifer because that signifies he will appoint pro-life judges for the next two Supreme Court vacancies. Oh, goody. Without legal abortion, I would have waited until my mid-twenties to have sex, and that's a pretty long wait. But my "conservative" high school classmates would be free to party. That is, before and after their stays in the maternity ward.