If women are such a coveted voting demographic, why are so many male politicians hell bent on offending us?
In a debate with two opponents who also oppose abortion, Mourdock attempted to explain his position that rape does not merit an exception to the ban he would enact on abortion. "Life is that gift from God," he said. "I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen."
Anticipating a replay of the hullabaloo Akin kicked up weeks before, some Republicans repudiated Mourdock's gaffe, while others circled the wagons, complaining that his words were being absurdly twisted. The candidate later clarified his thoughts, noting in a press release, "God creates life, and that was my point."
Sure, let's grant that Mourdock never meant to suggest that rape was endorsed by God; clearly, the "it" in his statement referred to the pregnancy. That doesn't mean that his words weren't troubling.
Note that Mourdock was advocating a specific and very intrusive public policy -- a ban on abortion even in cases of rape -- because each act of conception, no matter if a violent assault, is part of God's plan. Yes, it's a horrible crime. Yes, the pregnancy will likely extend and intensify the victim's suffering. But we must enshrine this martyr's burden in law because it is God's will that we do so.
Why do these men fumble so badly when discussing this most grim topic? Because they see no problem legislating a religious agenda. Usually, there's no cost in doing so and plenty to gain -- until they wander into a minefield that makes their ignorance plain. These men don't understand what it's like to become pregnant from rape -- what it's like for that to be a possibility -- and they betray no desire to become enlightened.
Akin's distinction between "legitimate" rape and -- what? pseudo-rape? -- is fairly common in the Christian anti-abortion movement. It partakes of the old superstition that a woman can't get pregnant unless she enjoyed the sex act. It's a nonsensical belief, but one that conveniently undercuts the notion that abortion, though horrible, must sometimes be permitted. (Another right-wing candidate, Rep.
From a similar religious standpoint, Mourdock followed a more logical path. He believes that life begins at conception, and that life is the most sacred gift of the Creator; therefore, life created by violent means is just as sacred as a life conceived through wedded bliss, and that life must be protected starting at the very moment of the rape.
Even if you believe that life begins at conception, and that human zygotes, blastocysts, embryos and fetuses merit the same rights and consideration as you and me, you still might disagree with Mourdock. Most Americans do disagree, including many who accept their church's teaching that abortion is wrong.
One person's convictions, when they stem from faith, inevitably will conflict with another's. When notions of justice and compassion are brought into an issue like abortion, it only complicates the dilemma (compassion for whom, the mother or the child?).
It's fitting for candidates' religious beliefs to inform their positions on important political issues, and it's laudable when they make those beliefs known to voters.
They may discover, however, that most Americans don't want important social policy to be decided by the religious beliefs of a few. Rather than invoking God to validate their positions, or citing the pseudo-science that all too often backs up their faith, conservative politicians need to reflect.
Just what are they trying to legislate: morality, metaphysics or human rights? Just answering that question would cut through so much nonsense in these debates over abortion. And it would save a lot of male candidates from having to apologize to women voters later on.
Read the latest political news.
- United States Presidential Elections in Perspective
- Early Latino Turnout Could Swing Vote
- A Letter to Women Voters
- The Final Days, The Biggest Issue and The Clearest Choice
- Another Electoral College Nightmare?
- Why We're Still in Deep Trouble No Matter Who Wins The Presidency
- FEMA vs 'Romnesia'
- An Unscripted October Surprise
- Stormy Weather Politics
- Storm Saves Obama From Himself
- A Romney Presidency Would Erase Decades of Progress
- President Obama Has Earned Our Trust -- and Our Vote
- Conservatives Long for the Sad Days of Yesteryear
- The Key Election Factor -- Hispanic Turnout
- Presidential race will be 'all about turnout'
- Romney: Obama Victory Would Mean More Gridlock
- Obama: 'You Know I Tell the Truth'
- Romney Pledges Bipartisanship in Final Push
- Gaffes and Zingers, Highlights of Mitt Romney's Campaign
- Women Voters: Kingmakers in 2012
- Obama: 'We've Got More Work to Do'
- The Uncool President
- The 2012 Choice
- Busting Myths about Benghazi
- Benghazi -- No Mere 'October surprise'
- The Vanishing Act of Dubya
- Not an Easy Makeover for Florida Representative Allen West
- What Men of the GOP Don't Get About Rape and Abortion
- In GOP View, Life is Sacred ... Except When It's Not
- Romney the Wrong Man to Handle United States Foreign Policy
- Mitt Romney AWOL in Foreign Policy Debate
- How the Election Could Go Wrong for Romney
- Mitt Romney's Question-Mark Economy
- Will Money Talk?
What Men of the GOP Don't Get About Rape and Abortion | Politics
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc