Politicians Threatening Survivors’ Choice

Richard Mourdock

A major issue trending in the last 24 hours is the following statement by Richard Mourdock, a U.S. Senate candidate in Indiana, who during a pre-election debate said the following (from CNN.com):

“I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.” He went onto explain that he would allow for exceptions to an abortion ban when a mother’s life is in danger.

To many that statement sounds like God gave you the gift of life by being raped; therefore God wanted your rape to happen.

After a huge public negative uproar, Richard Mourdock’s response to his original statement was the following (from CNN.com):

“God creates life, and that was my point. 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.”

Mourdock’s comments don’t make sense. By reading his statements, you can easily come to the conclusion he believes God would never want anyone to be raped, but that God sometimes uses rape to create life. Such a belief is an oxymoron.

Why is Mourdock’s statement important? As we hear more legislators and candidates discuss abortion in the case of rape, we need to be aware of the power they possess to change the laws pertaining to abortion specifically concerning rape.

With the Todd Akin case and now this one, too often you’ll see people say, “That’s just one extremist.” One extremist with power is too many. Clearly evidence is mounting that more than one legislator has religiously informed beliefs that they feel divinely empowered to enforce specifically upon survivors of rape.

Freedom to believe in and practice your religion is very different than politicians forcing their religious beliefs onto others via US law and/or legislation. While Mourdock and Akin have shared their religious beliefs as reasoning for changing current laws, what about the religious beliefs of each rape survivor? Is the survivor entitled to make choices based on his/her own beliefs (religious, ethical, personal or otherwise)?

When discussing abortion in the case of rape, our country needs to remember the rapist already stole the survivor’s choice once. Our government should not steal the survivor’s choice again.

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