Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin wields the veto pen

Sarah Palin, having served as governor less than two years, probably didn’t have many opportunities to use her veto pen. But when she did, ironically, she went after funding for a group that provides shelter and support for unwed teenage mothers. How ironic. And how typical of a radical rightwing culture warrior.
Keep in mind, too, that this came at a time when Alaska was rolling in dough because of the huge increase in oil prices and was running a large surplus.

Michelle Cottle from TNR spells it out here:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.

According to Passage House's web site, its purpose is to provide "young mothers a place to live with their babies for up to eighteen months while they gain the necessary skills and resources to change their lives" and help teen moms "become productive, successful, independent adults who create and provide a stable environment for themselves and their families."

I'm sorry, but a politician who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest and who opposes comprehensive sex education should be at the forefront of championing support systems that make it easier for young mothers to keep their babies. 

I would have assumed Palin herself felt this way. After all, she is a proud member of Feminists for Life, an anti-abortion nonprofit whose stated aim is to give women a real choice--that is, to make certain that women faced with unplanned pregnancies have access to the information and support systems that will enable/encourage them not to have an abortion. Surely a program aimed at assisting the most desperate of young mothers--those whose boyfriends aren't amenable to a shotgun wedding or who don't have a strong family support system--would be something a pro-life feminist such as Palin would work to expand not destroy. 

Pro-life conservatives have for years faced accusations by abortion-rights activists that they only give a damn about a woman and her baby until the moment that baby is born. After that: Best of luck! Don't come looking to us for any help! Palin's rough handling of Passage House does nothing to combat that unfortunate image.

Remember that this is one of the few examples we have of Palin exercising her “executive” powers that, according to Republicans, are supposed to make her MORE qualified to be president than Barack Obama.
Perhaps in the next few weeks she will explain her reasoning for this veto. But right now she is not making herself available to the media for interviews.

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