Even before yesterday’s revelation about the pregnancy of her 17-year-old daughter, the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be the GOP vice presidential candidate almost instantly thrust the issue of Supreme Court appointments – and specifically, whether Roe v. Wade may be overturned in a McCain administration – into the forefront of election campaign chatter.
When GOP nominee Sen. John McCain unveiled his pick Friday, opponents immediately began pointing out that Palin described herself to be as “pro-life as any candidate can be.”
“Gov. Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton in a statement issued before McCain and Palin made their first joint appearance.
“She shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the same day.
“The last thing women need is a president – and vice president – who are prepared to turn back the clock on women’s rights and repeal the protections of Roe v. Wade,” said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in a statement Friday.
Then yesterday, after news of the pregnancy of Palin’s daughter, Bristol, broke, evangelical leaders rallied on Palin’s behalf, saying the decision of her daughter to keep the child reinforced the candidate’s pro-life stance.
“Before, they were excited about her, with the Down syndrome baby,” conservative activist Grover Norquist said. “But now with this, they are over the moon. It reinforces the fact that this family lives its pro-life values.”
“Fortunately, Bristol is following her mother and father’s example of choosing life in the midst of a difficult situation,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said. “We are committed to praying for Bristol and her husband-to-be and the entire Palin family as they walk through a very private matter in the eyes of the public.”
Meanwhile Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama echoed the sentiment expressed by Palin in a statement and by McCain through a spokesperson that the issue of the pregnancy be kept out of the campaign, and that the privacy of the family be respected.