Sarah Palin and children conceived out of wedlock – an uncomfortable question needs to be posed

FOX News’ Alan Colmes reports on this same issue, and notes that Sarah Palin’s son was born on April 20.

Now a word from religious right leader James Dobson:

“[O]ur conviction is that birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples. Traditional marriage is God’s design for the family and is rooted in biblical truth. When that divine plan is implemented, children have the best opportunity to thrive. That’s why public policy as it relates to families must be based not solely on the desires of adults but rather on the needs of children and what is best for society at large.” – James Dobson of Focus on the Family, TIME, December 2006

Joe and I discussed this post before writing it. We weren’t even sure we were comfortable posting this because, as Democrats and progressives, we don’t pass judgment on children born out of wedlock, or their parents. Every child is a gift, and we don’t believe it’s the government’s, or anyone else’s, business what you do in your own bedroom.

But the conservative base of the Republican party, the very base that McCain’s VP choice, Sarah Palin, was chosen to woo, does care about legislating your sex life. Though it was 20 years ago, who can forget the infamous Murphy Brown controversy, when then Republican VP Dan Quayle criticized a fictional TV character, Murphy Brown, for having a child out of wedlock. For conservative Christians, aka “values voters,” getting pregnant while not married is still severely frowned upon. Remember, it was only 18 months ago that religious right leader James Dobson famously, and publicly, criticized vice presidential daughter Mary Cheney in a column in TIME magazine for having a child out of wedlock. It is exactly Dobson who McCain is wooing with the choice of Palin.

As Joe notes in his post below, pregnancy and birth control – and overall sexual mores – are key issues for conservative voters, and for the Republican party leadership. It is therefore newsworthy, and a legitimate issue, while admittedly somewhat uncomfortable, to inquire as to the practice of those very same issues in Sarah Palin’s own life. Let me walk you through the issue:

1. Sarah Palin’s first son, Track Palin, was born in April 1989 (we don’t have the exact day). Actually now we do, courtesy of FOX News’ Alan Colmes. He was born on April 20. For the purposes of this analysis, we will give Sarah Palin the benefit of the doubt and assume that her son was born on April 30, 1989, the longest possible April date from her marriage.

2. Sarah Palin was married on August 29, 1988. She eloped.

3. 38 weeks is the typical human pregnancy.

4. 38 weeks before her son’s birthday, April 20, 1989, is July 28, 1988 – i.e., that would be the hypothetical day of conception.

5. If this data is correct, that would mean that Sarah Palin eloped four weeks after her son’s conception.

6. Sarah Palin’s son could still be legitimate if he was born four weeks premature, AND if he was conceived on the night his parents eloped.

Again, Joe and I aren’t very comfortable discussing these kind of issues because, honestly, we don’t care when Sarah Palin’s son was conceived. But Sarah Palin and John McCain and James Dobson care very much about the conception of your children. James Dobson, the very man McCain is wooing, himself decided that Mary Cheney’s out of wedlock conception was worthy of an entire commentary in TIME magazine only 18 months ago. It is at least fair to ask that Sarah Palin meet the James Dobson/Mary Cheney standard, and clarify for James Dobson and values voters everywhere whether her actions match her words.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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