The obligatory “punished with a baby” post Update from Ed: Our beautiful blessing

posted at 2:34 pm on March 30, 2008 by Allahpundit

Not one of my big issues but red meat for those for whom it is:

“Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” Obama said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.”

The basic point, i.e. “teen pregnancy is bad so let’s do what we can to avoid it,” is unobjectionable but this is at least worth a question at the next debate about whether he’d describe unwanted pregnancies among adults the same way. My hunch is people will be willing to cut him some slack because he’s talking about teens: Pregnancy’s more disruptive to a kid than to an adult, and we do after all presume as a matter of law that minors are too immature to make important decisions, so the idea of being “punished” by one’s own ignorance isn’t out of left field. Would he say the same thing about a 30-year-old, though? Anyone think he’ll be asked?

A better question would be to ask him what types of inconvenience caused by pregnancy don’t justify an abortion. Are there any? Many would agree that knocking a teenager out of school for a year or more is too high a price to bring a fetus to term. How about an adult who’d be out of work for a few months, on leave, to have the baby and then give it up for adoption? How about an adult who owns her own business or is independently wealthy and just doesn’t want to be bothered? Any objective standards of “punishment” here or are we going purely on ipse dixit?

As for rhetorically equating the baby itself with punishment, eh. All that proves, I think, is that the guy’s not that great without a script, which we already sort of knew. Then again, I agreed with InstaGlenn that the last Michelle Obama uproar was much ado about nothing so maybe my outrage meter’s out of whack. Plus, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the left this past month, it’s that there are no accidents in presidential rhetoric. Exit question: Second look at finding Deep Significant Meaning in his choice of words?

Update (Ed): I have to add something to this thread. My son & daughter-in-law had our granddaughter, the Little Admiral, when they were 18 years old. None of us ever saw her as a “punishment”, not from God or hormones or the universe in general. While we would obviously have preferred that Mom and Dad had a little more preparation for life, we never thought of the new addition as anything other than a blessing.

How so? We saw our son blossom almost overnight into manhood. He threw himself into his new family. Our daughter-in-law spent most of the pregnancy on an IV, and he learned to install and maintain it for her. They fought their school administrators almost their entire senior year, helped along by their very supportive teachers; they threatened to sic truant officers on my son (who was getting the best grades in his life at the time) until I told the district superintendent that I would be calling every TV station in town to let them know that the administrators were pressuring my DIL to get an abortion.

In May, the Little Admiral turns 6, and my son and DIL will both graduate from college. She’ll be a teacher, while he wants to pursue post-graduate work in math and physics. It’s amazing to see what people can do when they accept blessings in their lives rather than treat new life as a “punishment”.

And if they’re reading this, I hope they know how proud both sets of parents are of them.


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Comment pages: 1 2

thuja on March 30, 2008 at 4:52 PM

So you’re saying you’re scientifically and morally ignorant.

Libertarianism won’t make up for that.

John on April 4, 2008 at 1:57 PM

Comment pages: 1 2