My column has appeared in Salon.com, What’s the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick!
‘ The GOP vice-presidential pick holds that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or severe birth defects, making an exception only if the life of the mother is in danger. She calls abortion an “atrocity” and pledges to reshape the judiciary to fight it. Ironically, Palin’s views on the matter are to the right of those in the Muslim country of Tunisia, which allows abortion in the first trimester for a wide range of reasons. Classical Muslim jurisprudents differed among one another on the issue of abortion, but many permitted it before the “quickening” of the fetus, i.e. until the end of the fourth month. Contemporary Muslim fundamentalists, however, generally oppose abortion.
Palin’s stance is even stricter than that of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2005, the legislature in Tehran attempted to amend the country’s antiabortion statute to permit an abortion up to four months in case of a birth defect. The conservative clerical Guardianship Council, which functions as a sort of theocratic senate, however, rejected the change. Iran’s law on abortion is therefore virtually identical to the one that Palin would like to see imposed on American women, and the rationale in both cases is the same, a literalist religious impulse that resists any compromise with the realities of biology and of women’s lives. Saudi Arabia’s restrictive law on abortion likewise disallows it in the case or rape or incest, or of fetal impairment, which is also Gov. Palin’s position. ‘
By the way, some apologists in the letters column at Salon.com are arguing that Palin allowed state benefits to same-sex couples, showing that she does not in fact seek to impose her theological ideas on the public.
‘ . . . early in her administration she supported a bill to overrule a court decision to block state benefits for gay partners of public employees. At the time, less than one-half of 1 percent of state employees had applied for the benefits. Palin reversed her position and vetoed the bill after the state attorney general said it was unconstitutional. ‘
In other words, she actually did try to impose her theological beliefs by supporting a bill that was punitive toward gay partners. She only backed off the effort when the lawyers warned her it was unconstitutional.