Three days ago, during a Senate debate in Indiana, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock was asked about his anti-abortion views and possible exceptions. His response: “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
I’m sorry, what? Are we in the `50s again? Is everyone wearing poodle skirts and listening to records? How are we still making such statements in 2012?
Mourdock attempted to clarify his statement later by saying that he never said that rape was something God intended. And yet, that seems to be exactly what he said. Even if the “it” in his statement referred to the life, as God is all-powerful, he also controls what led to that pregnancy and that would be rape.
If you think that this view is extreme or out-of-the-ordinary, it’s not. In fact, it’s quickly becoming the mainstream. Also consider the fact that Romney just recently cut an ad endorsing Mourdock in the Senate race, the only Senate ad that Romney has done in the 2012 race. And while his office has issued a statement saying that Romney does support exceptions in the case of rape, he has not pulled the ad.
But is Mourdock’s position any more ridiculous than Romney’s?
If you think about it, Mourdock is holding truer to the real pro-life stance. Logically, if you consider every fetus to be a life with all the rights that entails, allowing abortions in the case of rapes or incest makes no sense. That is like saying that if you met someone who was born of rape or incest, you would be allowed to kill them with no repercussions. It is devaluing the very life that Republicans claim they are protecting, even in cases where the mother’s life is at stake – that is, if you believe that we still have such cases. Hasn’t technology wiped out medical problems altogether at this point? – it’s still sticky moral ground because you’re essentially trading one life for another.
It you follow that Republican line of logic to its very end, this is what it actually looks like: A fetus is a life with the full rights that all living human beings have. Life is sacred. Abortion kills the fetus. Abortion is voluntary and pre-meditated. Abortion is murder. Murder is outlawed and morally unacceptable, therefore abortion should be outlawed and morally unacceptable.
Nowhere in this line of logic do exceptions to the rule come in. Nor should they. Murder is murder, and anyone on the street would tell you that we shouldn’t accept murder as a part of life. It is a crime that in severely punishable.
I am by no means defending the Republican pro-life stance. I am merely trying to show that the Republican stance is one of two things: hypocritical or extremist. Either you believe that life is sacred only in certain circumstances and not in others, or you believe that we should never allow abortions, even in the case of 12-year-old rape victims or daughters violated by their fathers or women who are sure to die during childbirth.
Feeling squeamish? You should be. And that is what is at stake in elections around the country right now: women’s rights to control their own body and to choose their own health care. If you are a woman, you should be voting Democratic to maintain your right to decide what happens to your body, a right that for some reason is still contested in the 21st century. If you are a man, you should be voting Democratic to protect your mother, sister, wife, or daughter.
The one silver living in this entire debacle is that Mourdock seems sure to lose the Senate race in Indiana. But Romney is still a strong contender for the presidential race, and that is completely unacceptable if we don’t want to revert to the 1950s view of women and their place in society.
I’ll end with a quote from Tina Fey, who sums up what every women in America should be feeling right about now: “If I have to listen to one more grey-faced man with a two dollar haircut explain to me what rape is, I’m gonna lose my mind.”