Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock Conflates God and Rape

Indiana hopeful is apparently uninterested in separating church and pregnancy caused by sexual assault. Why his opinion should carry no weight.

Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Indiana GOP senate candidate Richard Mourdock has joined a growing number of politicians who cannot express their reverence for the sanctity of life without stumbling into a rape pit.

Currently Indiana’s state treasurer, Mourdock took on the role of rape apologist during a debate with his Democratic opponent, Representative Joe Donnelly, Tuesday night. Mourdock was asked whether or not he believed abortion should be permitted for a woman who has been impregnated during an act of incest or rape.

“I struggled with myself for a long time,” explained Mourdock, “but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended to happen.”

MORE: Nemesis List: America’s Undeclared War on Women

Following the debate, Mourdock issued a statement to amend one literal interpretation of his assertion, which is that God intends for women to be raped: “God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does.”

The very fact that a person with a graduate degree and a position of statewide fiscal responsibility creates the necessity to clarify his belief that God does not plan the world’s rapes is an indication that this person has wandered into areas of opinion better left to expert stakeholders.

Anti-abortion absolutists face particular challenges when mounting a credible line of reasoning for their position, especially when these absolutists represent a gender that absolutely never gets pregnant.

Because of this monopoly on pregnancy, reproductive rights are far more essential to the health—and crucial to the human rights—of one half of the population than to the other.

While stumping for a second House term less than one week ago, Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) stated as fact the scientifically proven falsity that abortion is “absolutely” never medically necessary to save a woman’s life. Therefore, to Wash’s specious reasoning, life-saving procedures for pregnant women should be banned.

Earlier in the campaign cycle, Congressman Todd Akin, arguing that rape exemptions were unnecessary in anti-abortion statutes, issued the medieval assertion that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Abortion, it should go without saying, is a deeply personal issue.

In reality, many people—male and female—are conflicted about the procedure. An individual’s attitudes toward abortion may spring from the core of how that person fundamentally experiences right and wrong as good and evil.

But only female bodies conceive, carry and give birth to children.

Because of this monopoly on pregnancy, reproductive rights are far more essential to the health—and crucial to the human rights—of one half of the population than to the other.

Is it mere coincidence that the anti-abortion absolutists who minimize or misrepresent rape while seeking elected office are resoundingly male?

Only one half of the voting pool has a biological capacity to ever be in the position of considering whether to carry or to not carry a pregnancy to full term. And because women have no overwhelming majority in the electoral process, their right to make decisions gravely affecting their short- and long-term health will always be at risk.

Women in America have been granted the vote and been allowed to hold public office longer than anyone reading this post has been alive.

More recently, in June of 2012, two female representatives in the Michigan state legislature, Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum, were blocked from addressing the house while debating reproductive rights when they used the word vagina in the overwhelmingly male chamber.

In response to the exclusion of Brown and Byrum from Michigan state’s reasoned discourse, Planned Parenthood commented: “It’s just unacceptable to silence women when we’re talking about reproductive rights.”

Some men, on the other hand, might cause less harm if muted.

Do men have the right to legislate women’s bodies? Talk it through in COMMENTS.

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“It's unacceptable to silence women when we’re talking about reproductive rights.”

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