On Tuesday night, Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock responded to a question about his stance on abor– tion during an Indiana debate in which he said, “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
Mourdock later denounced the media for misrepresenting what he said, and ultimately stood by it.
Abortion is undoubtedly a controversial issue, and all sides of the argument make some compelling claims. While one side respects that childbirth is the right of the female and others say life in any form is sacred and should be protected, when pregnancy is the result of a rape, it should be considered as an extenuating circumstance. The abortion decision should lie solely with the victim and nobody else.
Rape, even when mentioned hypothetically, should not be used to exemplify either side’s point but a scenario that super- sedes both ideologies.
Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney has endorsed Mourdock, and though his campaign dis– tanced itself, women should consider this continued endorse- ment when thinking of their reproductive rights.
“We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him,” Romney campaign spokeswom– an Andrea Saul said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Mourdock’s comment was not to say that God would con- done rape or that Mourdock’s intentions were to demean the victims of sex crimes, but the pro-life message behind his com- ments have no relevance in situa– tions involving rape. Mourdock’s stance on abortion, like many religious conservatives, holds that the only exception to their ideol– ogy is when the mother’s health is at risk by the pregnancy.
To say that a victim of a heinous crime would have to add to her suffering being judged by religious idealists is simply inhumane.
Mourdock’s comment and the theology behind it may have good intentions, but it definitive- ly disrespects victims and their emotions and bodies. The values that Mourdock presented in his response on Tuesday are very unlikely to be representative of how a rape victim would actually be able to react.
The abortion debate relies heavily on making a choice. Rape victims do not get that choice and are not privy to the bodily function that prevents pregnan- cy, as Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin suggested earlier this year, when he said that in cases of “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies could prevent pregnancy.
Women’s choices should be treated with more respect, espe- cially when pregnancy is a result of rape.