Palin, Abortion, & the Feminists

By Bachiochi, Erika | The Human Life Review, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

Palin, Abortion, & the Feminists

Bachiochi, Erika, The Human Life Review

The morning John McCain announced his choice for vice president, an especially fierce firestorm broke out; that morning it looked like the choice of Alaska's first female governor was going to be a game-changer, and though it didn't change the game in an ultimately victorious way (as no VP nomination ever has), the enthusiasm Palin generated among the base of the Republican party was intense: Nine out of ten Republicans who in exit polls called Palin's nomination "important" voted for the McCain/Palin ticket.

Yet the intense reaction to her nomination was anything but one-sided. Indeed, the reaction of most feminists to her nomination was vicious - and from day one.

Such intense (and intensely disparate) reactions to Palin's vice-presidential candidacy symbolized what has become a deep divide among Americans, and especially American women, about what it means to be a woman, and about what it means to be a feminist.

Sarah Palin is a woman of many accomplishments, a fact that was largely ignored by the mainstream media during the 2008 campaign: Aside from being the mother of five children, she'd achieved the highest approval rating of any governor in the nation, shown admirable fiscal discipline (foregoing gubernatorial privileges such as the jet, the chef, and the chauffeur), cut spending in her state time and again, and brought about the construction of a natural-gas pipeline in Alaska that provided affordable energy to her state and potentially many others. Most impressive of all, of course, her appearance on Saturday Night Live brought in the show's highest ratings in 14 years.

Despite her grit and feistiness, and the fact that she took down many in the good-old-boy network of corrupt Republican politics in Alaska, Palin was greeted with uncommon vehemence by both the mainstream media and the mainstream feminist establishment (which could really be said to be one and the same thing these days). They called her nomination an insult to women, a betrayal. "Her greatest hypocrisy," one academic wrote, "is in her pretense that she is a woman."

Not a woman? Let's get it straight: She's not a woman because she's not in favor of abortion rights.

Some will object that she was lambasted in the media chiefly because of her evident inexperience, and because of her poor performances with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric. On the point of inexperience, I will not deny that even this supporter would have preferred her to have been a second-term governor, to have traveled the world and befriended foreign diplomats. But I think it's false to say that the real hatred directed at PaHn on the part of many feminists was because she was inexperienced, or because she couldn't quickly recall during her interviews the newsmagazines she reads or the Supreme Court cases with which she disagrees. First, as many pointed out over the course of the campaign, her inexperience was rivaled by the equally conspicuous lack of experience on the part of now-President Obama, inexperience that the media - and apparently 52 percent of Americans were happy to disregard. And second, to contend that she is inexperienced is a rational type of argument, to which one can bring reasons and evidence, for and against. When it comes to Sarah Palin, though, the reaction of many feminists was hardly rational; it was rageful.

Here was a woman who called herself a feminist, had a successful career in public service, was as tough as nails - unflappable in the light of harsh criticism, "a model of courage and conviction that we'd like our daughters to be" (in the words of one commentator otherwise critical of her) - yet she was hated by the mainstream feminists.

Sarah Palin was hated because Sarah Palin, mother of five children, appearing after her convention speech and the VP debate holding her Down Syndrome baby, stood in clear repudiation of the central pro-abortion tenet, that idea that started with Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique and has been foundational for pro-choice feminism ever since (even though Friedan herself later found it wanting): that children, and especially children with special needs like Trig Palin, are a burden to women's success, freedom, and equality. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Palin, Abortion, & the Feminists


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.