Who's Off Limits?

St. Paul, Minn. — Since the revelation that Bristol Palin, GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, is pregnant, the mainstream media have been covering the story with a zeal not seen since they discovered Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy. But the current media feeding frenzy is actually much worse, as the liberal press savage Sarah Palin in the hopes of damaging her street cred with socially conservative voters.

US Weekly magazine’s cover this week will have a photo of Gov. Palin with her youngest son, Trig, along with this gem of a feature title: “Babies, Lies and Scandal:  John McCain’s Vice President.”

Over the past three days, I have had scores of reporters approach me leveling charges of hypocrisy. They can barely contain their glee as they say things like, “This goes against everything you pro-family, pro-life conservatives believe!”

Actually, it does not. None of us claim to be perfect.  But the Palins’ situation is exactly what the pro-life cause is about — helping mothers bring their babies into the world with love and support.  We in the pro-life movement celebrate the value, potential and greatness of all human life.  Barack Obama’s own story began with a teenage mother who married the father of her son, who has become the historic presidential nominee of his party.  

Perhaps the wildest media accusation is that Bristol Palin’s pregnancy is proof that abstinence education doesn’t work. But for years we have distributed condoms and birth control pills to our children like candy, and some of the schools with the most “comprehensive” educational approaches have some of the highest pregnancy rates.

But charges of hypocrisy are leveled partly because they help distract the electorate from the stark differences between how the two tickets have approached fundamental issues of life and death.  Barack Obama has said that the question of when human rights begin is “above my pay grade” and has never voted to limit or restrict abortions. He has said voting for legislation allowing Terri Schiavo’s family to take its case from state courts to federal courts in an effort to stop her euthanasia was his "biggest mistake" in the Senate.  And he has said that while he tries to teach the right values to his daughters, he doesn’t want them “punished with a baby.”

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has said, “We have faith that every baby is created for good purposes and has potential to make this world a better place.” That’s the difference between the pro-life cause and the pro-abortion libs. We welcome children into the world; the other side sees them as punishment.  We do all we can to sustain disabled human life; the other side sees such life as a mistake.

The media’s Palin pile-on highlights a clear double standard.  When Michelle Obama used every opportunity on the campaign trail to bash America, calling it a “mean” country and seeing little to be proud of in her adult life until the success of her husband, the media reaction was that spouses were off limits.  

There is a big difference between the conduct of family members who speak for the candidates, like Michelle Obama, and the actions of candidates’ children who wish to stay out of the public light.  

But if the media insist on examining the Palins’ personal lives, I hope they spend some time talking about how they live out their pro-life beliefs in the most fundamental way.  The example being set by Bristol Palin is a testament to the pro-life cause. I hope the media discuss how the family has rallied around Bristol and that Bristol plans to marry the father.  Every family in America wrestles with parenting issues. The Palin family is no exception. When a child makes a mistake, we don’t want him or her to compound it with another. Our children deserve our prayers and support.   

And I hope they mention that just five months ago Gov. Palin gave birth to a son with Down syndrome.  Studies show 90 percent of Down syndrome babies are aborted once their disability is detected.  The Palins were told during the first trimester that their son, Trig, would have Down syndrome. Abortion never occurred to them because, as the Palins stated in a press release, “We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential.”  The family’s decision is a tribute to its pro-life values.

What a tremendous statement about the sanctity of life for the American people to see a president who has adopted a daughter from a Bangladeshi orphanage and a vice president who has stepped up to the responsibility of raising a child with special needs.

Far from damaging their credibility, the example set by the Palin and McCain families helps explain why conservative Christian voters are rallying around the Palins, and in turn, the McCain-Palin candidacy.