Wuh? Palin down with Juno but down on Murphy Brown?

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

No one ever expected Sarah Palin to show any modicum of consistency in her Rupert Murdoch-published-and-backed book, America By Heart, but this takes the proverbial cake.

Yesterday, Media Matters noted that the former half-term governor of Alaska spent several pages in her new book taking on 90s television sitcom Murphy Brown -- how timely! Yes, Palin takes the bold step of defending former vice president Dan Quayle's 1992 broadside against of the fictional character for having the temerity to have a child out of wedlock.

What, pray tell, did Palin write about the 2007 film Juno? You remember Juno. It's that movie where a young teenage girl finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and decides to give the child up for adoption only to ultimately hand her new born off to a woman whose marriage has just disintegrated -- i.e. she's single.

Here are Palin's insights about Juno (p. 233-235) -- you'll notice what she fails to address with the same gusto as her condemnation of Murphy Brown:

From the moment she finds out she's pregnant it seems like a foregone conclusion that Juno will, as she says, "nip" her problem "in the bud." And sure enough, she makes an appointment and goes to a clinic. There's an abortion protestor outside whom Juno basically ignores. But just as Juno is about to enter the clinic, the young, sweet protestor says something that seems to affect her. She yells, "Your baby has fingernails!" And Juno pauses. She continues into the clinic, but you can tell she's struggling. Inside, she sees the heavily pierced receptionist texting as she monotones a greeting and asks Juno to fill out a form. "Don't skip the hairy details," the receptionist says, bored. "We need to know about every score and every sore." Then she offers Juno a free condom, boysenberry-flavored. Juno can't take it. She leaves. ''I'm staying pregnant," she tells her friend.

You could argue (as some did) that there wouldn't be much of a story to tell in Juno if she had an abortion in the first fifteen minutes -- certainly nothing very funny. But it strikes me that the reason she rethinks her automatic decision to have an abortion -- hearing that her baby has fingernails -- sends a very understated but powerful message. Despite all the rhetoric designed to make abortion just another "choice" that Juno and her friends grew up with, she ultimately recognizes that there is a living being growing inside her. It is a life she didn't ask for. It is an inconvenient life at the time. But it is a life nonetheless. She just can't bring herself to destroy it once she imagines it as something human, as opposed to an abstract "problem" to be "solved" by a routine medical procedure.

Most Americans, I think, are a lot like Juno. They don't think in ideological or political terms about their religious faith. They may not even be actively religious at all -- but they still want to do the right thing, and they want to see others do the right thing as well. Our culture encourages this by doing something unique and, I think, highly exceptional: it takes fundamentally religious values such as the sanctity of life and secularizes them without surrendering their morality. America has a special ability to take the truths and moral lessons of religion and put them to work in ways that benefit everyone, regardless of their faith.

Yep, you read that correctly. It is as if Palin is saying, "to hell with a woman actively choosing to be a single mother, this is a great opportunity to score points on abortion!"

Talk about demonstrating the strength of one's convictions.

h/t Liberal Oasis

Sarah Palin
America By Heart
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