GOD of the GOP, and a Dilemma for Indiana
October 23, 2012 1 Comment
Richard Mourdock is Indiana’s GOP candidate for the US Senate. He’s the one who defeated the relatively moderate Richard Lugar in the GOP primary.
He and his Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly, are both pro-life, and both believe in allowing abortion when the life of the mother is at stake.
Where they diverge, and where Mourdock enters Todd Akin territory, is with regard to pregnancies resulting from rape. Donnelly would allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, and a threat to the mother’s life, though his view on birth control – he endorses letting employers decide if a woman should have access to contraception – is as 1950’s as any Republican’s. But Mourdock is a different matter altogether. According to an article on Huffington Post,
“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother,” said Mourdock, the Tea Party-backed state treasurer. “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
If you are a woman in need of an abortion or birth control, Indiana is a tough place to be: even the Democrat seems to take his positions on women’s rights from the Ozzie and Harriet handbook.
Even the Libertarian candidate, Andrew Horning, thinks abortion decisions are best made by the state n a one size fits all manner. (Because these decisions are so cut-and-dried, so simple. But women, the poor dears…)
Mourdock wants to be sure he was not misunderstood. According to the same article,
Mourdock tried to clarify his comments soon after the debate, saying God does not intend sexual assaults.
“God creates life, and that was my point,” Mourdock said in a statement. “God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick.”
Well, that’s good to know, sir. But that’s all theology, and interesting as that is to discuss after dinner with cigar and snifter, it’s not the point. It’s the policy that concerns me, and presumably concerns the women of Indiana.
You are a young woman in Indiana. A college student, let’s say. You get raped. You get pregnant. You decide, like most victims of rape, not to report the crime and go through the additional trauma of dealing with the rapist and the event in court. You decide, for whatever reason, to have your rapist’s baby. You give birth. According to an article in Mother Jones, Indiana restricts the parental rights of rapists to custody and visitation . . .
but law requires rape conviction, and only applies if rape victim is a minor and adoptive child or step-child of the rapist.
If you are a minor and the rapist was not your parent or step-parent, they may get shared custody and visitation rights for the next 18 years. Actually, even if the rapist was your father or stepfather, if he was not convicted of rape, he could demand custody and visitation rights. In Indiana. In 2012. This is the law now. It can get worse.
If Mourdock is elected, the unlikely choice to have your rapist’s baby would no longer be a choice. Because you can’t be permitted to turn down a gift from God.
Democrat Donnelly is no knight in shining armor – unless you are raped. Then even a pro-lifer, who at least understands that the thought of bearing your rapist’s child is a horror flick or an Edgar Allen Poe story, will look like a hero.
The day after the election, I would love to see a breakdown by county of women voting for Donnelly or Mourdock, so I could compare it to the following map, which shows the number of abortions per county. I would like to think that more women in counties where more abortions are performed will better understand the importance of leaving that pivotal choice up to the individual woman.