If a girl is raped, becomes pregnant, then dies during labor, did God abet her murder? Incredibly, one Bible-believing Republican who wants to outlaw abortion has come to the conclusion that God intends for human rape to happen and sometimes gives rape victims “gifts” in the form of unwanted fetuses.
Is God the Devil, or is the GOP teetering on the brink of insanity?
Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock recently opined that life is always a “gift” from God and that a fetus conceived by rape “is something God intended to happen.”
But before Mourdock’s comments, Rick Santorum, who fell two steps short of the presidency, expressed a similar view, telling rape victims to “accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.”
Shades of Bobby Knight, who once advised women that “if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” But the GOP has gone Knight one better (or infinitely worse) by saying what sounds like: “If rape is inevitable, once the heaven-ordained coupling is over, go through nine months of pregnancy to risk your life, health and sanity bearing the child of God’s, nature’s and man’s tyranny over your bodies.”
Two days after Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” fiasco, we learned that Akin is actually far less extreme than his party, when the Republican platform committee approved language seeking a constitutional amendment to ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest or danger to a woman’s life. The wording of the GOP’s renewed call for a “human life amendment” agrees with similar calls made in 2004 and 2008. Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, noted that the absolute abortion ban “is the platform of the Republican Party.”
Mitt Romney’s campaign declined to comment on the platform committee’s vote, but in the past Romney has endorsed identical language. In 2007, Romney told ABC News: “I support that [the human life amendment] being part of the Republican platform.” During a Republican presidential debate the same year, Romney said that he welcomed a consensus that “we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period.”
Romney claims that life begins at conception, meaning that a microscopic egg incapable of human thought or feeling pain could be seen as a potential death sentence to a female, once all forms of abortion are illegal. That Romney wants to end all abortions is undeniable. The question is how far will he go, legislatively, if he is elected president, and how many girls and women will suffer and die if he acts in accordance with his beliefs.
So Romney is obviously more extreme than Todd Akin. And yet Romney told a New Hampshire TV station that Akin’s remarks were “deeply offensive,” and that he and his running mate Paul Ryan “can’t defend” Akin. (Ryan, seated beside Romney, nodded his head in agreement.) But Akin effectively tied Ryan to his comment when on Mike Huckabee’s radio program he confirmed that by “legitimate rape” he meant “forcible rape,” the term that appeared in the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” bill co-sponsored by Akin and Ryan.
So the bottom line is that — as stupid, evil and offensive as Akin’s comments were — Paul Ryan is just as bad, and Mitt Romney is worse.
Romney, who now stands a few undecided votes away from the White House, has aligned with the extreme right, saying: “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that!” and “I’d be delighted to sign that bill [banning all abortions].”
Because rape, incest and life-threatening pregnancies will always be with us, getting rid of Planned Parenthood and banning all abortions could over time increase suffering and death for large numbers of American girls and women.
What about women on tight budgets whose contraceptives malfunction? What about very young girls who have unplanned sex and get unlucky? What about girls who have AIDS, drug addictions, or other conditions that make giving birth a nightmare for both mother and child? What about sex workers when condoms break?
Are we really ready to deal women such a great setback? It seems Romney is. Now that it is apparent that Romney’s budget math doesn’t add up, and that he offers no discernible advantage over President Obama on jobs, economics or foreign policy, surely it’s time to think about the girls and women we love, and what their lives will be like if they can’t choose if and when to become mothers.
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.