PALIN AND PREGNANT TEENS.... The Washington Post's Paul Kane reports that Sarah Palin, as governor, used a line-item veto to "slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live."
As it turns out, Alaskan lawmakers passed the state's budget, but Palin started taking out funding she found objectionable. In this case, she cut funding for Covenant House Alaska from $5 million to $3.9 million. The practical result, of course, is that fewer teen moms in Alaska would be eligible for shelters and educational programs.
The obvious criticism, I suppose, is to relate this to Palin's own family, but there's a more important policy point to make here. TNR's Michelle Cottle explains the significance of Palin's position:
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.
I am curious what Palin knew about Covenant House Alaska before she cut its legislature-approved funding. If she ever submits to an interview, perhaps someone can ask her.