Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

On Zebra Cones, the Palins, and Choice

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Let’s pretend you and I have serious disagreements about soft-serve ice-cream. I think zebra cones with chocolate sprinkles are the best; you insist pure chocolate with rainbow sprinkles is the only way to go. One day, we happen to find ourselves at a Creamy Whip together. True to my long-held ice-cream convictions, I order a zebra cone with chocolate sprinkles. Having witnessed this, you’d have to choice but to order the same, conceding that, yes, chocolate-sprinkled zebra-cones are the best, that, in fact, every type of soft-serve other than chocolate-sprinkled zebra-cones should be outlawed.

Wait, no? It doesn’t work that way?

Then can someone please explain to me how this argument makes any sense?*

First Sarah herself is asked, in the early stages of her pregnancy with son Trig, whether she would like to abort him because he had Downs Syndrome, and now her 17 year old daughter who could have very easily aborted her child without her mother’s permission … chooses to bring her baby to term. I’m pretty impressed. She and her family are dealing with the very real effects of choosing life, of rejecting abortion. She and her family are taking responsibility and showing the rest of the country how its done.

How problematic is it going to be for someone like Biden to hit Palin on the issue of reproductive freedom? She can just easily say, listen…”both me and my daughter have been faced with the option to abort our children rather than suffering through the undeniable harships of raising a disabled child or being teenage mom. We were both lucky enough that our family supported our choices.

I feel I am uniquely qualified to speak on the subject, Mr. Biden. After all, I made the choice myself.”

The fact that Sarah (and, putatively, Bristol) Palin hold deep-seated beliefs that abortion is wrong and thus, when faced with difficult pregnancies, decided not to abort makes them not hypocrites. It makes them morally honest and, sure, even strong, or brave. It does not, however, prove in any way that they are “right.” And it cannot really be seen as evidence that the other side is wrong. That’s just not how choice architecture works.

* Using E.M. Zanotti’s post as a stand-in for the many places I’ve seen this argument.


Written by Elizabeth

September 5, 2008 at 3:11 am

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