Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK)
Susan B. Anthony List's "Celebration of Life" Breakfast
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, DC
May 14, 2010

Oh I appreciate so much that warm welcome.  Thank you all; it is great to be here.  Good morning sisters, and I see some brothers out there too.  Glad you made it.  First I'd like to thank Jane and Marjorie for their wonderful work and for their boldness, their courage.  They're not backing down when they take heat.  Sometimes--I know that if my name is associated with something you take a little bit of extra heat.  I appreciate so much that you take it anyway and thank you Emily Buchanan for all of your hard work with this organization and Marie, the most beautiful song--that was gorgeous.  Thank you so much for your talent, sharing that.

And then the founders and the members of Team Sarah who are here, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you, and I would ask that you stand up so that I can put some faces out there to names, and I thank you so much.  Thank you.  Whew, talk about courage and boldness, you all.  Thank you for the great work that you did in '08, during the campaign, and since then even, continuing to support and advocate for good common sense solutions and helping me get the message out there.  I appreciate you so much.

You know what I would always like to do when I'm in any kind of group is acknowlege those who allow us to be here free and secure, the members of our United States military.  I know we have a lot of spouses of military members and moms of military members and daughters too.

Those of you who are serving today in uniform or who perhaps have served in the past are veterans, you are who we want to thank and salute, and I would ask that members of our military past or present if you would stand up we're going to thank you, salute you, say God bless you.  Thank you sir.  Thank you.  America's finest.  Our men and women in uniform who are a force for good throughout this world, and there is nothing to apologize for that.  God bless you, veterans.  Thank you.

And we do have these good candidates.  I know that they have been listed today, but Robin Smith and Pam Bondi and Jane Norton and Kelly Ayotte, so happy that you are here today and that you are bold and that you are standing up for what is right and you're putting it all on the line, too.  And I thank you for the courage that you're showing in running for office.

This afternoon I'll be with Nikki Haley in South Carolina doing an endorsement there and of course Carly Fiorina, it was, you know the credibility there that SBA allows a candidate to have knowing that, okay I'm safe there endorsing Carly Fiorina.  You all have endorsed her, you all get it.  You understand that there in deep blue California anyone who's running for office bold enough to declare their pro-life stands or pro-NRA; they're pro business and development and anti tax, anti-big government principles that they stand on.  Here she proudly proclaiming that and yet some kind of wanting to accuse her of being a RINO.  I say no no no no.  There in the deep blue California if she's unabashedly pro-life and all of those other common sense conservative things that she stands for, she's the real deal.  And I appreciate you to being bold enough and strong enough to take a stand in that race and to take a stand in so many of these races across the country.

I'm especially glad to be here celebrating life and doing it under the banner of one of my heroes, Susan B. Anthony.  It's an honor to speak in the building named after another one of my heroes, and many of yours, Ronald Reagan.  This is an honor.

President Reagan of course was always so supportive of women leadership.  In fact he often liked to tell a story about his good friend--and another heroine--Margaret Thatcher.  Reagan first met Thatcher before she became prime minister, and it was during a trip that he took to England while he was still governor of California.  Reagan loved to tell a story about that trip. 

Apparently he was the guest at a reception hosted by members of the British Conservative Party.  And to use Reagan's own words, he said, Lord Somebody or Other came over to him and asked, well what do you think of our Mrs. Thatcher?  And Reagan said, I think she'd make a magnificent prime minister.  And the British lord said, Oh my dear fellow, a woman prime minister?  And Reagan replied, well you had a Queen named Victoria who did pretty well.

And of course Reagan was right about what a magnificent prime minister Margaret Thatcher was, and I admire the fact that Mrs. Thatcher, she never set out to be a woman prime minister, just a prime minister.  And one of the greatest ever to have served, perhaps because she was a woman of action.

Thatcher liked to say, in politics, you want something said, ask a man; you want something done, ask a woman.  That was her quote.

So folks, in 2010, we'll remember this year because we're going to accomplish a lot together this year.  This year will be remembered as a year when common sense conservative women get things done for our country.

All across this country, women are standing up and speaking out for common sense solutions, and many of them are grassroots activists, leading, like the tea party movement, which I'm excited about because it's a beautiful movement.  It's a movement of the people.  These women are getting involved because the want a better future for their kids, for all of our kids.  And these policies coming out of DC right now, this fundamental transformation of America that we were warned about in the campaign--well a lot of women who are very concerned about their kids' future are saying we don't like this fundamental transformation of America, this road that were on towards national insolvency.  We being beholden to foreign countries in so many respects now.  We being under the thumb of big government, with more of a disrespect for life, for the sanctity of life.  We don't like that transformation,

And to me it seems like its kind of a mom awakening in the last year and a half, where women are rising up and saying, no.  We've had enough already.  We're going to turn this thing around; we're going to get our country back on the right track no matter what it takes, we're putting all of our efforts into these mid-term elections to turn things around and put government back on our side.  To respect the will of the people, not allowing government to make us work for it, but for our government to again work for us.

The policies coming out of DC are allowing us to feel empowered really, allowing us to rise up together because moms kind of just know when something's wrong.  It's that mother's intuition thing, I think.  We can tell when things are off base, off course or not right, and we're not afraid to role up our sleeves and get to work and get the job done, set things straight.  Moms can be counted on to fight for their children's future.

Now again part of that fight has to do with the grassroots movement that is full of tea party Americans, those who are saying, no, enough is enough.  And what has amazed me about the tea party movement is how the media has reacted to the people who are involved and just want their voice heard, and say, no, government, you're overreaching.  You need to abide by our Constitution and you have limited powers, federal government. And we're going to kind of explain to you and remind you what the Constitution's all about.  That's what the tea party movement is all about. 

So there the media is--they just kind of crack me up because they embed themselves in the tea party rallies and they try to figure out just who are these creatures who are a part of this?  These moms, these grandmas, these teens and college students, these doctors and lawyers and such, all walks of life, both genders, people of all races being a part of this movement and yet the media has tried, but I think they've failed because Americans are smart enough to start holding the media accountable.  But people there in the media trying to portray tea party Americans as racist and violent and all those things that they are not, that we are not.  Just average, every day, hard working patriotic, liberty-loving Americans who again have said, that's enough, federal government, that's enough of your overreach, and we're going to do something about it.

Now it's been clever, too, being a part of these tea party rallies, seeing some of the signs in the audience, and some of your signs today too.  You can learn a whole lot about what the sentiment is out there in the American public just by reading the signs in some of these movements.

I think one of my favorite was a mom carrying a sign saying, My kid is not your ATM.  I do like that billboard too though, that billboard that the college kids have up, that was just recently unveiled.  It says, Mr. President, I need a fricking job.  Period.  That was a good one there in Buffalo.  And, oh of course I always like seeing though too the sign of the billboard George Bush saying, miss me yet?  I love that one.  We do.

Because when Washington goes on a spending spree and starts borrowing money to take over and bail out insurance companies and financial institutions and the banks, the auto makers, and keeps spending endlessly and running up dangerously unsustainable debt and deficits [inaud.when?and] expect that our kids and our grandkids are going to pay the bills for us, for our overspending today.  I think that's immoral, it's unethical, it's not right, and I think that all of us agree on that.  And when that happens, I think a whole lot of moms were concerned about government handing our kids the bill.  It's generational theft, too.  We're stealing opportunities from the future of America.  We rise up, and moms say, come on, now, that's enough.  That is enough, and we're going to do something about this.

And Washington, let me tell you, you no doubt don't want to mess with moms who are rising up.  There in Alaska I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody's coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs.  No, the mama grizzlies, they rear up and, you know if you thought pit bulls were tough well you don't want to mess with the mama grizzlies, and I think there are a whole lot of those in this room.

And that's what we're seeing with all these women who are banding together, rising up, saying no.  This isn't right for our kids and for our grandkids.  And women leading the grassroots people's movement--many of the tea party leaders, most of them are women.

So some common sense constitutional conservative women--taking to the streets right now, organizing on that grassroots level--this is so good for our republic, it's so good for a republic within a democracy to have this rising up, this awakening.  It's very, very healthy for our republic.

Others are putting it all on the line, as I say, running for office, being so bold.  And those who are endorsed and nurtured by the Susan B. Anthony List, we so appreciate you.

When I see how many great women candidates are running, kind of reminds me of that campaign button that we had in 2008.  It showed a pink GOP elephant on it, and it said, it's a girl.  And maybe that was a single girl reference then, but this year look out Washington because there's a whole stampede of pink elephants crossing the line, and the ETA, stampeding through, the ETA is November 2nd, 2010.

Lot of women coming together, going to take this country back.

Organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List are leading the charge too, thankfully.  You play such a crucial and unique role in the pro-family, pro-woman, pro-life movement because you support pro-life women candidates.  And that is a group that must continue to grow in numbers.  You sponsor candidates who will not vote present on those issues of life, and your support for the culture of life, you know that it's not above anybody's pay grade.

We proudly stand up and we speak out for those most in need of our protection, those most vulnerable, and we're not shy about doing so.  And being a pro-life politician is more than just a convenient title come election time.  It means making tough decisions, even if that means bucking your party once in a while on these issues of life. Even if it means standing up against that machine that's running a party.

The Susan B. Anthony List was front and center during the Obamacare debate and we were all so grateful for your leadership in finding that public funding that was in the bill during the Obamacare debate.  We were saddened to see so many so-called pro-life Democrats cave on the issue though.  But we're not discouraged.  Far from being discouraged, we need to be energized, we need to be really fired up, and not be demoralized, but get organized. 

Elections have consequences.  And we've seen the manifestations of that already in the recent elections and in some of the recent polls, we've seen the consequences of those who said that they were something, get into office, cast their votes and prove that they're something else.  We won't forget those who promised to hold firm against government funding of abortion, but caved at the last minute in exchange for a non-binding executive order promised by the most pro-abortion president to ever occupy the White House.  We will not forget.

We won't forget, come November our new pro-life, pro-woman majority will actually be pro-life when it counts, when those votes are needed.

But your work is more than just candidates, SBA.  You act as a representative for all feminists who believe in the culture of life.  Organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List are returning the women's movement back to its original roots, back to what it was all about in the beginning.  You remind us that the earliest leaders of the women's rights movements, they were pro-life, women like your namesake and like Elizabeth Cady Staton, Sarah Norton and Alice Paul, who of course was the author of the original equal rights amendment back in 1923, who said, she said abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.

Today polling shows that more young women agree with these feminist foremothers than ever before, and believe in that culture of life, empowering women by offering them a real choice. In fact a Gallup Poll showed recently that for the first time in 14 years there are more Americans proudly proclaiming themselves as pro-life, understanding the sanctity of life and the need for a culture of life, than ever before.  The majority of Americans, and that's a huge victory.

Together, our pro-woman sisterhood is telling these young women that they are strong enough and smart enough, they are capable to be able to handle an unintended pregnancy and still be able, in less than ideal circumstances no doubt, but still be able to handle that, give their child life, in addition to pursuing career and pursuing education, pursuing avocations.  Though society wants to tell these young women otherwise.  Even these feminist groups want to try to tell women, send this message that no you're not capable of doing both.  You can't give your child life and still pursue education.  You're not strong enough; you're not capable.  So it's very, very hypocritical of some of those pro-life groups--I mean pro-women rights groups out there who would claim such a thing.  And that's as opposed again to Susan B. Anthony List and other pro-life women groups who are saying, no, women, you are strong enough, you are capable of doing this.  And if motherhood isn't an option, raising that child, after you allow it life, well then adoption is a beautiful choice, and we need to pursue more opportunity in that arena.

Even in less than ideal circumstances these pro-life groups are empowering women and letting them understand that, yeah, there's going to be some help and some support and resources out there for you in order to give your child life.

And I understand those challenges in less than ideal circumstances.  I've been there.  You know I had never ordered up, planned on being the mom of a son with special needs.  You know I thought you know God will never give me something that I can't handle.  And when I found out that, at about 12 weeks along through an ultrasound that my baby would be born with Down syndrome I thought immediately, okay God, remember you promised us you will never give us anything that we can't handle.  I don't think I can handle this.  This wasn't part of my life's plan.  I had no idea how I was going to handle the situation in raising a special needs child as a very busy governor, busy with four other kids, husband away quite often commercial fishing and up on the North Slope in the oil fields, working there.  And just the circumstances, and not knowing if my heart was ready, not knowing if I was patient and nurturing enough. 

My sister has a child with autism and we've always said, see God knew what he was doing.  The autistic child would be for Heather, my sister Heather, because she is the more nurturing one, she'd be able to handle this.

But when Trig was born then, I understood that no, God does know what he's doing and what seemed like would be such a challenge has turned into our greatest blessing.  And I believe that one of the whispers in my ear during, after that ultrasound and the weeks of the pregnancy, the months of the pregnancy was God kind of whispering in my ear saying are you going to trust me?  And are you going to walk the walk or are you just going to talk the talk.  And he so preparing my heart though I didn't know that preparation was even being done in our family and in my heart, but the minute that Trig was born and they lay him in my arms and he just kind of melted right on into my chest and he looks up at me and it was just like he's saying see God knows what he's doing and this is going to be good, and mom he gave me to you and he gave you to me and this is going to be a wonderful journey and truly God so overwhelming us with joy and the recognition of his perfection, Trig's perfection, has been nothing but blessing and I so want to help other women who are in that situation, thinking these are less than ideal circumstances, what am I going to do about this?  Maybe I can change those circumstances.  Maybe this can all just go away and we'll pretend it never happened. 

I want to encourage these women, oh my goodness, give this life a chance.  You will be blown away, overwhelmed.  Your life will so change for the better in allowing the life of someone even with special needs, especially someone with special needs.  Todd and I know that, in our family we know that Trig will teach us more than we'll ever be able to teach him.  He allows such awesome perspective on what really matters.  And I think too in this political arena is, oh all the stuff on the periphery that just wastes time and doesn't matter, does it at the end of the day the things that are said in the media and the political potshots.  They don't amount to a hill of beans.  Not when Trig is there in our life, showing us this golden heart that I believe God would want all of us to embrace and to emulate, the child with special needs.  I tell you, truly, Trig has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and to the Palin family.  Yes.  [standing ovation]  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Let me share quickly something that Trig does too that I think the rest of us can learn from.  He of course, having challenges--and he'll have challenges his entire life, probably greater challenges than the rest of will have, but Trig, you can already see sort of his perspective in this child that I think the rest of us are supposed to understand and emulate to.  Trig, in the morning, he'll wake up--he's two years old now--he'll wake up and he pulls himself up on the, up to the top of the crib there.  He looks around and he rubs his sleepy little eyes and even though the day is going to be challenging, he starts applauding.  First thing in the morning he looks around clapping like whoho!, whatcha going to do to me now.  I mean shouldn't we all?  Shouldn't we all?  That's what we're learning from our boy.

But my daughter Bristol, too.  She didn't expect to become pregnant at 17 and those were less than ideal circumstances.  There Bristol having to endure you know some public humiliation.  It was an embarassing time for her and bless her heart, they're out on a national stage and she and the rest of the family saying, you know this wasn't supposed to happen.  You don't think that it will happen in your own family.  Bristol though, being so strong and independent and knowing that choosing life was the right road, the right choice, she knew it wouldn't be easy.  And it hasn't been easy, and society, culture sure hasn't made it easy on her.  And her message now being, hey other teenage girls, don't do what I did.  This is not easy.  You know it was a premature ending of her adolescence, and it was, you know, the beginning of a whole new life absolutely living now for someone else.  She living for her son.  But, wow, our culture and the media has made it rough on her and they're kind of sending the message I think to other girls that, hey, it'd probably be easier if you just abort your child and not have to go through what Bristol's going through.

Bristol too saying, no.  These are less than ideal circumstances.  Her message now is don't do what I did.  Abstinence is the only 100% foolproof way, of course, of preventing pregnancy.  She though kind of getting clobbered for that message, and she's kind of new to all of this too, obviously.  And she's like why would I get clobbered out there in our society for using myself as a lesson? is what she's saying, and just warning other teenagers.  I think that the phrase she uses is pause before you play, which is, you know, that's good for them too.  But Bristol, knowing too that it was the right choice.  And she now seeing and the rest of us seeing that there again, what seemed like life's greatest challenge, an impossible situation to get through, right out of the chute when you hear the news.  No.  Her baby, having turned into such an awesome blessing.  And we, here, you know a year and a half later, looking at this child, saying what would our life be like if he were not here in our life.  Again not an easy road for Bristol, not an easy road, but the right road, and I'm very proud of her decision.

It's important to know that I am and always have been unapologetically pro-life, so when I talk about Trig and when I talk to other groups about kind of what went through my mind and the feelings that I had when the doctor was telling me about what could be the results of the tests with the Down syndrome tests and all that, I have to be really careful in how I explain my feelings, because some people say oh, you know, she considered abortion or she, you know, how can that validate her pro-life position?  And I say, no, what Bristol and I both have been through has not changed that belief, but it has changed my perspective on the whole situation.

Our experiences gave me tremendous empathy for the woman who does find herself in less than ideal circumstances.  I now understand why a woman would be tempted perhaps to think that well it might just be an easier way out to try to change the circumstances, to take the situation in my own hands and change this.  I understand what goes through her mind, if even for a brief moment, a split second even, because I've been there.

But what my family has experienced in the last few years has really reaffirmed and strengthened my unwavering support for life at every stage, and choosing life may not be the easiest path, but it's always the right path.  And I've had that confirmation.  The timing or the circumstances may not be perfect, but God sees a way where we cannot, and he doesn't make mistakes.

So Bristol and I both putting our faith in that belief, and we're learning together again that what seems like life's greatest challenges at the moment turn out to be life's greatest blessings.  And though it took me time to get my arms around being the mom of a special needs child, as I say, the moment that Trig was born was truly the happiest moment of my life, and things came together for me then.  It was life changing and truly teaching us more than we'll ever be able to teach him.

So I thank the SBA List for allowing women to receive that message about the sanctity of life, about giving life a chance.  And being a pro-life, pro-woman organization that has this growing voice because more and more Americans are looking to the SBA.  They're looking to see it is you endorse.  They're looking to see what the message is coming from the SBA because there's a craving, there's a yearning out there in our society, out there in a culture for truth and for people who are those with that stiff spine and won't shy away from talking about the issues that some want to kind of consider off base or too controversial or they're too politically correct and they don't want to engage in the conversation about the sanctity of life.  SBA is bold enough, courageous enough to empower other women to have that stiff spine and talk about these issues.

And I thank the SBA List too for being a home to a new conservative feminist movement is how I look at this.  It's an emerging conservative feminist identity.  Far to long when people heard the word feminist, they thought of the faculty lounge at some East Coast women's college, right?  And no offense to them; they have their opinions and their voice and God bless them, they're just great.  But that's not the only voice of women in America.

I'd like to remind people of another feminist tradition, kind of a Western feminism.  It's influenced by the pioneering spirit of our foremothers, who went in wagon trains across the wilderness and they settled in homesteads.  And these were tough, independent pioneering mothers, whose work was as valuable as any man's on the frontier.  And it's no surprise that our western states that gave women vote, the right to vote, way before their East Coast sisters in a more gentile city perhaps, got it right.  These women they had dirt under their fingernails, and they could shoot a gun and push a plow and raise a family all at the same time.  These women, our frontier foremothers, they loved this country and they made sacrifices to carve out a living and a family life out of the wilderness.  They went where no woman had gone before.  I kind of feel a connection to that tough, gun-toting pioneer feminism of women like Annie Oakley and them.  Maybe its that upbringing in Alaska.  Maybe too it's because later on today I do a speech at the NRA, and I'm getting in the groove. 

I'm proud to call myself a Western conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan.  Ronald Reagan, understanding those Western values too, those small town values.  And as an Alaskan woman I'm proud to consider myself a frontier feminist like those early pioneering women of the West.

Now maybe my jumping on a national stage was a bit of a shock to some people.  Some people may not have considered what an independent pioneering spirit, having that was what I was brought up with, what that could look like.  Maybe there was a lot of shock out there jumping on that national stage, but I know that some left-wing feminists they sure didn't know what to make of an Alaskan chick out there talking about the Second Amendment and talking about raising family and kids, the more the merrier.  Some of them refused to even admit I was a woman.  Geez. 

That's one of the reasons why I'm so grateful for the support of this organization.  Oh my goodness, the hard work, the graciousness, even the diplomacy, how you're able to engage in the issues in the debate with healthy debate and so diplomatically, so professionally, with so much wisdom and intelligence, and again with grace.  I'm grateful to have a place like this full of sisters who are not put off by a gun-toting, pro-life mom of a fun, full family.  Never dull.  And I so appreciate the support that you all have shown.

So our work together, together with Susan B. Anthony is to grow and expand this organization so that it too will be a foundation in our work to build a culture of life.  Because America's going to be an even more exceptional place as that culture of life is embraced and as we make manifest the efforts and our intentions and our commitment to kind of open the eyes of others to let them see the importance of protecting life.  Really it all comes down to life, and how we're going to take a stand on protecting innocent life and deciding that nobody is beneath the protection of our laws.  A better America, in this most exceptional country, still we're going to be able to do it better, we're going to be even more exceptional with that culture of life being ushered in.  It too must be a foundation for a new revival of that original feminism of Susan B. Anthony.  Together we're showing young women that being pro-life is in keeping with the best traditions of the women's movement. 

And this year the Susan B. Anthony List and its great women candidates are going to prove Margaret Thatcher right.  If you want something done, ask a woman.  We're getting the job done, sisters.  One life, one activist, one election, one vote, one American Dream at a time.  So thank you, keep up the good work, God bless you, God bless the United States of America.  Thank you, guys.

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