Alaska Gov Sarah Palin, speaking at anti-abortion group’s dinner, criticised President Barack Obama for supporting abortion rights and challenged the idea that unplanned pregnancies are a nuisance that can be solved by abortion.
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, spoke to an overflow crowd organisers said numbered 3,000 at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life banquet on Thursday night.
Some in the crowd wore white “Palin 2012” T-shirts, hoping she will be the Republican presidential candidate in 2012.
Earlier, Republican National Chairman Michael Steele described her as one of the party’s standard bearers, though he said it was too early to judge what her standing would be in three years.
Palin said the challenges she faced during her pregnancy with her son Trig, who was born with Down syndrome, gave her an opportunity to live out her anti-abortion beliefs. She said she prayed often during her pregnancy, especially after tests revealed that her son would be born with the condition.
“The moment he was born, I knew that moment my prayers had been answered,” Palin said. “Trig is a miracle. He is the best thing that ever happened to me and I want other women to have that opportunity.”
She challenged the notion that children must be born perfect and that unplanned pregnancies are inconvenient and can be ended by abortion. “I know for sure my son is perfect just as he is, made in the image of God,” she said.
She asked the crowd to keep working for the “culture of life” in America.
“Life is ordained, life is precious,” she said.
Palin said women who can’t give birth should have the opportunity to adopt children who might otherwise be aborted. She mentioned that her own daughter Bristol became pregnant as an unmarried teen and has since given birth to a son.
Palin also took Obama to task for his support of abortion rights and embryonic stem-cell research.
Palin received at least two standing ovations. After the speech, she addressed an overflow crowd in another room and thanked them for their support.
During a news conference earlier, Steele said Palin is among a crowd of Republican standard bearers that includes fellow governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.
He also cited other prominent party figures, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and two congressmen, Eric Cantor and Mike Pence.
Pence represents Indiana and Cantor is from Virginia. Many Republicans also look to Louisiana Gov Bobby Jindal as a presidential favorite in 2012.
Palin hasn’t ruled out a White House bid. Steele said it was too early to gauge what her standing would be in 2012.