Saturday, November 1, 2008

Time for Reflection

It's taken me a day or so to figure out how I feel about the Cajun Boy situation.

Here's my read: Cajun Boy, in spite of some stylistic choices that may not appeal to all readers, has been around a while. He's got hundreds of posts on his blog going back several years. He's been writing and thinking about life, love, and politics (and - apparently - penis enlargement) in this country long before anyone outside of Alaska had heard of Sarah Palin. Over this time I am sure he's developed sources and a network that he trusts. I think that he trusted that the information he was given was accurate - and that it was worth taking a gamble on. For now, he lost.

Whether the truth is that the ADN has nothing, has never had anything and has no interest in the story, or whether it is that they have quite a bit, but without that final "proof," they decided not to risk it, or whether they have the proof and decided there was nothing to be gained by running it before the election, who knows? If they have something, they will not sit on it forever. That I am sure of.

Meanwhile, a lot of people have asked what they can do? Here's a thought. It's a bit like Al Capone getting sent to jail for tax evasion.

It's 72 hours before polls open in this country. As many of us predicted, no medical records on Gov. Palin have been produced. Nothing. Not even a feeble letter like Obama produced.

The only reason for this is that there is something in those records that they don't want us to see. Otherwise, just release them. She's a fit healthy young woman and I cannot believe they are hiding some sort of chronic disease. (McCain would not have selected her if she had M.S. or something.) Something is being hidden. It might be that they could not manage to fake records for an entire pregnancy, which should include (probably) amniocentesis, (definitely) several ultrasounds, record of a nitrazine test that should have done as soon as she arrived at the hospital late on April 17th to determine if she really was leaking amniotic fluid... the list would be long. It might be that she had a tubal ligation after Piper was born. It might be that she has had an abortion, or a history of depression, or alcoholism.

So... here's an idea. I have no idea how many emails and phone calls and faxes were generated to the Anchorage Daily News on Thursday, but I suspect it was a boatload. There's a lot of power in numbers.

Perhaps those of you who want to do something should consider this:

Consider writing, calling, or emailing the McCain campaign (national, state, and local.) Consider doing the same for any Republicans in your district who are running for re-election. State the following (even if it's not quite exactly true:)
Dear...., I am still an undecided voter. I have been very troubled by the fact that in spite of promises to the contrary, Gov. Palin's medical records still have not been released. I feel that this is dishonest, and that Internet sites that have indicated that she faked her fifth pregnancy may be telling the truth. If her records are not released by Monday, November 3rd, I will be voting for Barack Obama. Signed....


Then copy FOX, CNN, and MSNBC plus the nearest "big town" newspaper (i.e., The NY Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, etc.) on every letter you send.

If they get a couple hundred thousand letters like this... they'll notice. I bet the ADN got almost that many. It's worth a try - and there's no down side.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw this site on another message board. Is it really possible to just look up the birth certificate (with payment, unfortunately)?
http://www.stategovrecords.com/lp.php?state=Alaska&tc=sr23&sk=Birth

Anonymous said...

Audrey,

Don't beat yourself up over this. You just linked to someone else's (perhaps) faulty post.

We will likely never get access to the medical records of Sarah Palin, even if she runs for president in 2012. Perhaps someone who knows the truth will spill it and provide proof.

But we are not idiots and our minds still function properly, even Cajun Boy's. So the real question is: if ADN doesn't have a story, why not? Certainly they can dig up all we can from afar, and a lot more with a little shoe leather. If I lived in Alaska, I certainly could have broken this story already, just as a citizen journalist.

All it takes is talking to people without a reason to cover-up. Either they will create alibis for the Palin girls or they won't. If they stonewall, and don't seem to have any reason to do so, that says even more.

So we can assume that ADN has agreed to keep the truth hidden -- like the MSM did with FDR's disability -- because they have decided it doesn't matter.

If that's the case, the truth must be pretty bad, but not illegal. It has to be a personal matter. The MSM and ADN are not idiots, either. I'm sure SOMEONE there is aware of your blog and our posts, and if we happen to get close they will certainly break the story.

So everyone who is still interested keep digging and maybe we'll get some piece of indisputable evidence that will prove it. Perhaps the truth is in the Palin family travel and expense records. Boy, I'd love to see them.

Dangerous

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT IDEA !!!!! Thank you !!!!!

I'm sending an e-mail to the McCain campaign immediately !!!!!

Anonymous said...

why don't you people with nothing better to do, look into Obama's missing birth certificate? He's actually running for president, not a down's syndrome infant, if you'd take your blinders off and notice other issues besides this mean, petty obsession of sick minds.

Mary G. said...

Thank you, again, Audrey. A great post. I,too, think that CajunBoy basically had sincere intentions in revealing the ADN scoop. His zany, comic, obscene persona is extravagant, even annoying, but really--one can excuse certain excesses where hypocrisy and puritanism cannot be overlooked--ie., the religious right and the fact that "barefoot and (teenage and) pregnant" is preferable to rationality. I will write (even though I am not undecided), but I encourage you all to write also to the Washington Post, for publishing the duplicitous story quoting Haylee Davison seeing Palin in labor--a completely invented source and manufactured quote--see my comment in the previous blogpost and Audrey's webite, No Palin family photos? for the link. THEY should be bombarded and their journalists called onto the carpet. I'm telling Cajun Boy right now! Mary g.

Marcy said...

Thank you for this excellent, practical suggestion! grammy

Anonymous said...

I found this ABC article using the Google.

ABC News' Kate Snow reports: With three days left until the election, the John McCain campaign still has not, despite frequent requests, released any information about vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's medical history, prompting some well-warranted skepticism.

Of course there are plenty of perfectly innocent explanations. The governor is perfectly healthy and the campaign feels no public pressure to release information? The doctor is on vacation and unreachable? The dog ate their records?

There are also more sinister explanations. But we won't go there.

Last Sunday morning, Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt told ABC News that Palin's staff planned to release information regarding her medical history "early in the week."

That was six days ago. ABC News has asked repeatedly about the status of the release of information and received no updates from the campaign. It is unclear what is holding things up.

"We'll let you know when we have something to say," spokeswoman Maria Comella said on Thursday. Today she had no comment when asked again.

Aides suggested privately that there was nothing to hide in the records, but that it was simply taking a while to call doctors and round up the appropriate information to release.

It was ten days ago that Governor Palin said she would be "fine" with releasing her records.

...

sunman

rebagg said...

It's possible that ADN will not publish the story Cajun Boy believes it has for reasons that Audrey suggests keep the MSM from pursuing the unlikelihood of the Palin birth saga: the story is so shocking or unsavory that it will destabilize the election in ways there is not enough time left to sort out. We can't expect ADN to admit it has, but is suppressing the story the blogosphere has been demanding it release. One could also interpret their response, "There is no story," to mean something like "There is no story because we have not verified its facts to our satisfaction."

Mary G. said...

I held my nose and wrote to the MCCain campaign... also, while reading the rather turgid piece in the Washington Post for Sept. 7, 2008, I did notice confirmation of Audrey's piecing together of the Palin girls' schooling--up in Juneau for the younger girls and--get this--they say Bristol was at West High in Anchorage living with aunt Heather. I don't think they mention her absences..... don't forget to change your clocks back, everybody! Mary g.

Mary G. said...

PS to the previous post: do listen to the *hilarious* faux radio interview Palin gave to two Montreal comedians who posed as French president Sarkozy--it's on huffington post and, of course, Cajun Boy!!! he did, incidentally, initially expose the use of a 5-month old baby as a source on Palin's labor! mg

Anonymous said...

As a journalist and sometime blogger, I'm also troubled by the Cajun Boy false report. Every writer makes mistakes, and we can all be taken in at times by a source who turns out to be unreliable, so I don't fault Cajun Boy for making the mistake.

But he definitely owes his readers an explanation of what happened here.

In my experience as a journalist, if a mainstream news organization says there is no story AND that they haven't even been investigating the subject, it means exactly that.

If ADN had said only that there was no story, then it could mean they had something in the works not yet thoroughly vetted and ready to publish. But no newspaper editor would risk the paper's credibility and reputation for honesty by falsely denying that it had been investigating a subject if that were not the case. The ADN editors would instead have couched their reply to email demands for the story much less categorically, i.e., "The ADN does not publish stories until they are fully reported and edited, nor does it discuss investigative work in progress prior to publication."

So, I don't think that ADN has something in the works. They SHOULD have been investigating this story, of course, but that's another matter.

I also have no doubt about Cajun Boy's honesty.

But without naming his source, etc., he should immediately now post an explanation of how he got this so wrong.

Perhaps he was taken in by a new email or phone confidante who misled him either deliberately or inadvertentl.

He implied in one post or comment that his source was an actual reporter on the story. (He said s/he was going all over Alaska knocking on doors.)

Whatever the explanation, those of us who trusted the story deserve an explanation from him, now, or at the least a post stating that he's investigating how he got the story wrong, and will report to us on that as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Sullivan'will be on Stephen Colbert Monday night. Although anything said there is preaching to the choir, the MSM tunes into Colbert and perhaps it will get picked up, although literally at the 11th hour....

Perhaps it couldn't hurt to encourage AS to try to talk about it:
andrew@theatlantic.com

You can bet that if the McCain campaign releases anything, there will be nothing related to any of her pregnancies due to "privacy concerns".

Thanks again for all your work to try to bring light to this issue.

I live in the PNW and have also contacted the Seattle Post Intelligence and Seattle Times to try to get them to lean on the ADN after the election. (There is a special relationship between Seattle and Alaska..and is the HQ of Alaska Airlines). The PI has a big reputation to maintain in the investigative journalism biz.

ebenezer said...

Palin got pranked by a Canadian radio station:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGbtN92Mc14

If I wasn't already aware of how moronically stupid Sarah Palin was, I'd be convinced that this was fake.
She fails to recognize the fake names provided for the Canadian Prime Minister and the Quebec Premiere. She also seems to agree that Quebec is near to Alaska.
Are the electorate in the USA dumb or do they just not care?
This is even worse than Caligula's horse.
I think Cajun Boy's post was a spoof, you're being too generous to him.
CNN are not running this prank yet but hopefully it will soon be household news.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Sullivan, as usual, has some great to-the-point comments tonight, describing Palin's medical records as "Still AWOL. No explanation. Not even a gesture, which suggests to me that some in the McCain camp realize they'd rather release nothing than be implicated in anything that might hurt them after the election.... no one has been as secretive as Palin and no one else has similar strangeness in her medical history. Presumably the records are there and could have been released easily two months ago. Unless there really was no vetting at all and the McCain camp is now covering up its own incompetence as well as preparing to throw her under the bus in a few days' time."

Anonymous said...

Obama DID produce his birth certificate and the independent group Factcheck.org verified its validity. There is a whole lot of yack on right-wing blogs that somehow they were faked out, many claiming some sort of proof.

We are not sure that Sarah Palin is not Trig's mother. It just seems highly unlikely given the evidence we DO have, which does not include the birth certificate or any other confirming records. All we have is Sarah Palin's statement that she is the mother, despite her other statements, actions, and photographic evidence to the contrary, as Audrey has meticulously documented.

So we are not wasting our time pursuing this mystery, which could be resolved conclusively if Sarah Palin would just release unembarassing medical records of her pregnancy and delivery. There's nothing particularly "private" about a pregnancy, as it is not a medical condition per se, but a normal human function that she's talked about at length.

Dangerous

Anonymous said...

I work at Mat-Su and Bristol is Trig's mom. I was working that night and assure you that Gov. Palin did not give birth, but she did come in to see her daughter. Palin's church owns the hospital and they are covering for her. We put births up on our website and trig is not listed at all, because the doctors did not want to violate ethics rules by placing him up and changing the mom's name.

Anonymous said...

Glenn Greenwald at Salon reports that ABC's Kate Snow asked the McCain campaign about releasing Palin's medical records every day last week, and got nowhere, of course:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/11/01/steyn/

Anonymous said...

Well, here's one more possibility about the CB situation...

Either CB himself or someone CB trusted, decided to pull a bit of a bluff. They believed/hoped that ADN was sitting on a Trig story. They hoped that by acting as though the story were really there, that ADN would be smoked out and would be pressured into running the story. I am told that Drudge uses a similar technique to force out a story.

However, here, the bluff failed because ADN is not in fact investigating the story (or, ADN didn't allow itself to be pressured into releasing a story it didn't feel comfortable with).

Unfortunately, CB's unhappily glib explanation makes him seem a bit more like a co-conspriator in this attempted bluff, rather than a victim of an over-enthusiastic source.

Anonymous said...

Again, Andrew Sullivan is one of the few who ask where are the promised medical records.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/11/palins-medical.html

Anonymous said...

Good suggetion Audrey. Nice to see that perhaps at least one MSM outlet is still willing to openly question the Republican machine's shinannigans.I beleive a little pressure in sending requests for these record, can't hurt. Hopefully all the lies will be revealed after Tuesday, and will expose this woman for what she is, and send her packing, although I'm betting Alaska won't be welcoming her back with open arms! Thanks again Audrey for all your hard work, and faith that,"...the truth will set you free."

Penny in Paradise

Audrey said...

To Anonymous at 8:47 pm, please write to me privately.

To all my other posters, I will caution that this is an anonymous comment. I have rejected a few comments that have attributed Trig's birth to utterly bizarre and unsubstantiated sources. (Like kidnapping.) I let this one through but desperately hope that the person who stated this will contact me.

In addition, I am still working on the connections between the various churches in Wasilla / Palmer and Mat-Su. I have discovered, for example, that Cathy Baldwin-Johnson's husband was on the board of Mat-Su in the early 2000s. The statement about the connection between the church and the hospital is one factor that made this a bit more tantalizing.

Hopefully I will have more for everyone soon.

Mary G. said...

Audrey, your instincts are right regarding the hospital-church-doctor connection. In fact, wasn't Baldwin-Johnson nominated for the prestigious American Assoc. of Family Physicians national award in the early 2000s? the first Alaskan to get this award. Mary G.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think that Palin had a tubal litigation a few years ago and it would be nearly medically impossible for her to be the mother of Trig. This would be so damaging to her career that she has to keep it quiet. If made public, the question of WHO is the mother would put her daughters in the spotlight.

At this point we will never know.

In the future, all candidates for all elected office should have to publish at least a letter from a medical professional dated in the prior 12 months. Let's remember that Obama's note is undated.

Anonymous said...

If the poster who says she works at Mat-Su really is who she says she is...I sure hope you will find the courage to contact the ADN or the Seattle Post-Intelligence(iTeam@seattlepi.com).

Sadly, I'm sure there is a good chance you would lose your job over this - but you may eventually come out of it working for a place that doesn't require you to check your values at the door.

(Mom For Truth)

Gryphen said...

In today's ADN.

48 HOURS LEFT . . . As we wind down to the election, supporters on both sides get nuttier by the day. On Thursday, editors and reporters at your Favorite Good Morning Newspaper arrived at work to find dozens of e-mails, and even some phone calls, from Obama supporters all over the country imploring us to "do the right thing" and quit suppressing an "investigative report" on the "mystery" of Trig Palin. Groans could be heard across the newsroom as people signed on to their computers and discovered the spam, which resurrected an Internet myth that surfaced, then thankfully died, right after Sarah got nominated for VP.

According to the anti-Sarah mythology, Trig is not her baby. She faked her pregnancy to cover up a Bristol pregnancy.

The list of reasons why this story is stupid are legion, starting with Sarah obviously feeling no need to hide a Bristol pregnancy. The myth also ran into gestation issues when Bristol's actual pregnancy was announced, but conspiracy theorists never seem to let facts deter them. They assure us the current pregnancy is fake.

Ear usually refers such callers to Lisa Demer's interview with Sarah's doctor, who delivered Trig but, alas, this too rarely works.

On Thursday, an exasperated reporter was heard shouting into the phone: "We saw the belly!"

Personally I don't think this proves anything except that the ADN has closed ranks to make sure this story does not get out.

But it is seeming less, and less, likely that they will release the story.

Cajunboy may simply have to out his source at some point.

Jay Raskin said...

Anonymous at 8:47, if what you say is true, you can make about $50,000 by calling the National Enquirer and repeating your statement.

If you can give us any details about what happened that night, it would be much appreciated.

I think that at least some reporters at ABC and NBC are totally pissed off that Palin never came through with any records. Kate Snow has been reporting on the no-news almost every day and Brian Williams reported the non-disclosure on his national broadcast. Unfortunately, there is apparently nothing they can do about it.

My thinking is still that every other reason (mental illness, breast enlargement, abortion) could easily have been covered up by releasing other medical records. Any other condition would only appear on a few of her medical records. It would still allow the great bulk of her medical records to be released. The only thing that could not be covered up by releasing the bulk of her medical records is Trig's birth. People would have immediately noticed that it was missing if she put out anything that did not include it. The refusal to release any medical records is another strong indicator that Trig is not her biological son.

palin pregnancy truth said...

What is the "Lisa Demer's interview" that the adn referred to? Did Baldwin-Johnson give an interview?

Perry said...

Mom for Truth writes
Sadly, I'm sure there is a good chance you would lose your job over this - but you may eventually come out of it working for a place that doesn't require you to check your values at the door.

The consequences are much worse than just losing your job. Violating privacy laws are criminal actions. From Medical Economics Does the law require any other specific punishment for violating HIPAA?

A: Any person who knowingly obtains or discloses protected health information is subject to criminal and monetary fines under HIPAA. (Fines begin at $50,000 and prison terms at one year, depending on circumstances.) Criminal sanctions are enforced by the US Department of Justice. As covered entities, physician practices must have appropriate sanctions in place—and be ready to apply those sanctions—whenever a staff member violates either a practice's privacy policies and procedures or the privacy rule itself.

sarah.hoax said...

To: Anonymous at 8:47
Don't even think of settling for anything less than 200K, seriously! It is worth that much.

Anonymous said...

What kind of journalism do they practice as ADN? Accept the nonsense from politicians without confirmation?

First, they mistate our assertions then use those misstatements as a basis to dismiss our valid conclusions. Then they repeat the bogus, unsubstantiated nonsense from the McCain campaign as absolute facts, without the documented contrary evidence, much of it from their own publication!!

We cannot count on ADN to do anything to pursue the truth in this. They probably have commercial reasons not to rock the boat in Alaska, since newspapers are a business after all.

We've seen the belly, too, and she was certainly NOT 7-months pregnant when she announced. Unless they have some naked pictures of Sarah Palin pregnant, and an unequivocal statement from the doctor, who is MIA, saying she delivered the baby and Sarah was the mother and has the records to prove it, they have no evidence at all.

Dangerous

GraceR said...

I don't buy what anonymous said about working at the hospital and knowing that Bristol gave birth to Trig for the simple reason that the poster said "her church OWNS the hospital."

Any real employee would know what the actual relationship, if any, is between the hospital and a church, but in any case the church doesn't OWN a hospital. Thre is some relationship there, but ownership is absurd. This sounds like the writing of a high school kid IMO.

Anonymous said...

People are providing you with misinformation again. Don't be gullible (like Sarah Palin thinking she was speaking with the President of France). Mat-Su Regional Hospital is not owned by Palin's church.

http://www.chs.net/company_overview/index.html

It is part of a national hospital chain. Community Health Systems (CHS) is one of the nation's leading operators of general acute care hospitals. The organization's affiliates own, operate or lease 118 hospitals in 29 states, with an aggregate of more than 17,000 licensed beds. In more than 65 percent of the markets served, CHS-affiliated hospitals are the sole provider of healthcare services.

Mat-Su used to be owned by Triad Hospitals, Inc., but Triad merged with CHS.

Perhaps some of the board members of the hospital are affiliated with Palin's church, but to say the hospital is owned by the church makes you look ill-informed (sort of like Palin herself talking to "Nicholas Sarkozy").

sandy beach said...

When I read the post from Anonymous, it looked like a troll's joke to me. Kind of like the Sarkozy phone call. Let's not get too excited about it.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
I work at Mat-Su and Bristol is Trig's mom. I was working that night and assure you that Gov. Palin did not give birth, but she did come in to see her daughter. Palin's church owns the hospital and they are covering for her. We put births up on our website and trig is not listed at all, because the doctors did not want to violate ethics rules by placing him up and changing the mom's name.

November 1, 2008 8:47 PM

Audrey, Thank you for asking this poster to follow up privately. I am assuming since you are the blog owner that you can & have checked this poster's IP address? (does a blog owner have that capability?) here is a link to a reverse IP address checker: www.ip2location.com Using that, you should be able to ascertain whether the poster is actually in the Anchorage/Mat-Su valley vicinity. Good luck & thanks for all you are doing!

Audrey said...

I did not take "owns" literally. I took owns to mean "controls." And it is clear, even though I have not finished my investigation into this, that the ties between the ultra-conservative Christian community, the board at Mat-Su, and Sarah Palin are close.

The poster has not contacted me. I do not know how to check an IP address of a poster via blogger. If someone else knows how, please advise me.

Perry said...

I previously commented that HIPAA violations are a criminal issue and punishable with fines and imprisonment. But as far as I know HIPAA only covers patient information. If SP didn't give birth, she wasn't a patient, and confidentiality rules may not apply to her. Unless, of course, it was planned beforehand and she was checked in as a patient under some bogus diagnosis.

Any HIPAA experts here that can comment on confidentiality of family members?

Perry said...

I don't know how to check the IP but I took a look at your map and you did have a hit from Wasilla. I don't know if it was that commenter though.

Anonymous said...

I believe this was brought up before somewhere about the evangelical churches taking over the hospital and wanting to stop all abortions. Here is a link, wherein it talks about the takeover. Meaning .. what this person has said about the church "owning" the hospital seems in line with the truth.

http://www.zimbio.com/Ed+Kalnins
/articles/8/pastor+clashed+Palin

Appalled (yet somewhat revived)

Anonymous said...

Yes, the church "owns" the hospital in the sense of controlling it.

About anonymous 8:47 p.m.'s post (thank you!), I believe that HIPAA rules do not mean that one cannot speak about a non-event or non-patient.

That is, hospital employees and medical personnel could state that Sarah Palin did *not* give birth at the hospital that night.

They could not, of course, say who did.

Audrey, how about calling the hospital and asking them to verify that a certain person did not give birth that night?

Anonymous said...

About the anonymous who said the SP's church owns the hospital. I'm with Audrey here taking "owns" to be a loose term. My point is a few posters have said it is true...well yes it is, it is also posted on this site somewhere. I'm from the UK and I know the church "owns" the hospital...and I read it on this site, so it's not you needed insider information to know that!

Dipsydoodlenoodle

Anonymous said...

For more on the relationship between Palin's church and the hospital go the New York Times editorial by Dorothy Samuels on October 30, 2008.

Here is the link
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/opinion/30thu4.html

Just in case anyone has a problem initiating the free courtesy log-in, here is the full text:

October 30, 2008
Editorial Observer
The Road From Wasilla: An Old Abortion Fight Revisited
By DOROTHY SAMUELS

Any day now, President Bush’s secretary of health and human services, Michael Leavitt, is expected to deliver a parting blow to women’s reproductive freedom: new regulations further limiting access to abortions, contraceptives and accurate information about reproductive health care options.

If that happens, it will be a big victory for the far-right — one, as it happens, that is partly rooted in an old controversy involving Sarah Palin’s church, her former obstetrician and the small local hospital serving Wasilla, Alaska.

In 1992, a coalition of some 20 evangelical churches in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Valley — including the Wasilla Assembly of God Church, where Ms. Palin was baptized at age 12 — captured control of the operating board of the community’s Valley Hospital.

The new board promptly voted to bar doctors from performing abortions at the hospital with limited exceptions for cases of rape, incest, dire medical necessity or where a doctor documents “the fetus has a condition that is incompatible with life.” The policy change left Alaska without any hospital where a woman with, say, a negative amniocenteses result or other problem not included among the exceptions could obtain a second trimester abortion at a doctor’s discretion. Such procedures account for about 10 percent of all abortions.

Dr. Susan Lemagie was by then the only physician in the state who performed elective abortions after the first 12 weeks (incidentally, she delivered the first two of Ms. Palin’s five children). She and the Mat-Su Coalition for Choice sued to overturn the new restrictions.

During this period, as incidents of violence against abortion clinics and doctors around the country mounted, Dr. Lemagie’s medical office became the target of anti-abortion protesters. Recalling the fraught atmosphere in a 1997 opinion piece in Newsweek, Dr. Lemagie’s daughter, Sarah, wrote that her mother “no longer talked about managed care and AIDS; she talked about buying a bulletproof vest.”

(Around this time, Ms. Palin, who was elected Wasilla’s mayor in 1996, served on another hospital board.)

Finally, in 1997, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled 4 to 0 in Dr. Lemagie’s favor, holding that Valley Hospital was a “quasi public” institution because it was the only hospital serving the community and received millions of public dollars. As such, it could not deny a woman’s “fundamental right” to abortion, which is secured by the broad right to privacy embedded in the state’s Constitution.

The outcome reverberated nationally. Supporters of reproductive rights felt bolstered. Those opposed seized upon the Alaska decision and like developments elsewhere to call for Congressional passage of the so-called Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.

Individual health care providers long had the right to refuse to perform or assist in abortion or sterilization procedures on moral or religious grounds. The bill proposed extending that right to hospitals, H.M.O.’s, insurance plans and an array of other health care institutions. Under the bill, any law or regulation mandating such services was deemed “discriminatory,” and could trigger a loss of federal financing.

When the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the bill in 2002, among the witnesses was Karen Vosburgh, a Valley Hospital board member and a leader of the Alaska Right to Life group. The bill passed the House but was blocked in the Senate.

The issue did not fade away. In 2004, a version of the bill known as the Weldon Amendment was tacked onto the spending bill for the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services Departments. It remains in force.

Now, Mr. Leavitt appears poised to enlarge the Weldon Amendment’s reach, for example, by adding abortion counseling and the provision of accurate reproductive health information to the list of services health care providers may refuse. He also would open the door for providers to decline to make emergency contraception available, even to rape victims.

It’s a long way from Wasilla to Washington. Yet, the impact of that far-away abortion brawl is being felt still.