The last 10 weeks of this election season have made me sick and tired of ignorant men pontificating on the reproductive lives of women. And I’m a man! I can only imagine how women feel. Todd Akin says that in a “legitimate rape,” a woman’s body can “shut that whole thing down” and prevent pregnancy. Joe Walsh suggests that medical technology makes it so that women don’t die in childbirth anymore. And now Richard Mourdock tells us that a pregnancy resulting from a rape is “a gift of God” and something that “God intended to happen.”
Akin and Walsh have been shot down for their poor biology with sound science and hard facts. But Mourdock’s remarks are in the realm of religion and are not susceptible to contradiction by logic or evidence. This is why Mitt Romney and the Republicans have not repudiated Mourdock—it’s against their religion. Romney has carefully parsed a rejection of Mourdock’s position that offers no abortion exception for rape while silently affirming the theology behind that policy. Romney never discusses his Mormon theology and won’t describe his beliefs that support his position that there should be an abortion exception for rape. But voters have a right to know not only what but why candidates hold the positions that they do. This is just one more area where Romney displays a disqualifying lack of transparency.
Richard Mourdock, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Indiana, has stated that he believes that a pregnancy that results from rape is, nonetheless, “a gift of God” and something “God intended to happen.” Therefore, he opposes abortion care access to victims of rape. By invoking the divine, he has made his argument a matter of his religious faith and in America he is entitled to his beliefs. What is so tragic about Mourdock’s statement is that he intends to deny the hundreds of thousands of women who are raped and fear pregnancy and the tens of thousands of women who actually become pregnant from rape, their right to religious freedom.
Each of the women who face this horrible experience should be free to seek in her faith the solace and comfort of a loving and compassionate God who has gifted her with the moral agency to make her own decision about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy begun in violence. And she should be able to exercise that faith by seeking abortion care. The rapist has already robbed her of her free will in the moments that her body was being violated. It is reprehensible that Mourdock would now inflict spiritual violence upon rape victims by suggesting that God was in any way participating in their rape.
Denying women access to abortion care is to rob them not only of control of their bodies, but of their freedom to worship according to religious beliefs not tolerated by Richard Mourdock. We live in a nation that not only gives each of us freedom to express our religion but also protects us from the imposition of another’s religion upon us. Mourdock is running for the U.S. Senate and, should he prevail, the freedom of religion and the civil rights to privacy and security of every woman’s body will be seriously compromised.
The full article may be found on Truthdig.