Sarah Palin to speak at fundraiser

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Matt Barney, staff writer

Sarah Palin will visit the campus of Missouri Southern on Sept. 25 to talk about the difficulties of raising a child with Down syndrome. The one-time governor of Alaska and 2008 vice presidential candidate will speak at a fundraising event for the LifeChoices Health Network.

LifeChoices is a non-profit organization that offers confidential and affordable reproductive health services to men and women in the Joplin area. They operate three medical clinics, offering services that include testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing and limited obstetrical ultrasounds.

“She faced an adverse pregnancy diagnosis while she was governor of Alaska,” said LifeChoices Advancement Director Rita Lawson. “Then she had a teen daughter dealing with an unplanned pregnancy situation while she [Palin] was running for vice president. So Gov. Palin understands, very well, some of the things that our clients experience.”

LifeChoices receives no state or federal funding and is therefore completely supported by individual and organizational donations from Joplin and the surrounding area. About a third of the organization’s budget comes from the annual fundraising event, Lawson said. The event serves as a way to thank those individuals, to tell them all that has been accomplished in the past year, and to raise continued awareness and support from community members.

“This is a very special year for us as we are celebrating our 25th year of operation and so we wanted to bring in an equally special guest for our friends and financial partners,” said Jordynn Griffith, communication coordinator for LifeChoices. “We sent a request to Gov. Palin’s office and she kindly accepted to join us on this exciting evening.”

The event, which requires a free ticket to attend, is sold out. Tickets were offered to LifeChoices supporters first, with remaining tickets offered to the open public on a first come, first served basis. Despite the demand for tickets, not everybody is in support of the organization.

“I am happy that such a prominent figure is in open support of a place that offers health care to pregnant women,” said senior psychology major Elizabeth Marin. “The downside to this is that if the woman decides to terminate the pregnancy, LifeChoices will not assist her.”

“They’re just pushing an outdated religious agenda,” said recent psychology graduate Jessie Dickey. “They don’t provide accurate information, they ignore the gay community and they treat all individuals who chose to have sex before marriage as if they are dirty, uninformed and immoral.”

The event will take place at Taylor Performing arts center at 7 p.m.