At a candidates’ debate last night, U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana expressed his belief that life begins at conception and that the only case in which he’d approve of a pregnant woman having an abortion was if her life was in danger. Then he added this:
Life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen.
Welcome to the 24-hour news cycle, Mr. Mourdock. Not surprisingly, your comments have caused outrage.
Here’s what Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal had to say:
Does Mourdock mean that God intended for that rape to happen, and for it to result in a pregnancy? Is the next step not to prosecute the rapist–and to force [the rape victim] to marry the rapist? This is not so far-fetched and is happening in Afghanistan and Morocco. Such religious extremism threatens women’s lives–in fact, threatens all of our lives, and religious freedom itself.
Mourdock tried to walk back his quote today with the old “I regret the misinterpretation” excuse:
If there was any interpretation other than what I intended, I really regret that. Anyone who goes to the videotape and views that understands fully what I meant.
Sounds like he’s saying that every pregnancy is planned by God, even if the woman had no say in the matter at all. Even if she was violated and abused. As Smeal pointed out, it’s a slippery slope from that religious-based viewpoint to what goes on in countries with religious extremism as their de facto legal system.
The Twittersphere has been quick to jump on the religiosity of Mourdock’s statement:
@Human Choices: Apparently, Richard #Mourdock wants rapists to get to pick the mother(s) of their children. How very Christian of him. Not.
@sensitive_b: “Apparently the 1950s aren’t far back enough, they now want to take us all the way back to the Calvinist idea of predestination?”
And @lwdgrfx started a new hashtag: “#GiftsFromGod: health, love, friends, rapists’ babies”
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney “disagreed” with Mourdock’s comments, but continues to endorse the candidate and has run an ad in his favor. You can ask Romney to pull that ad here.
As Smeal concluded, “Religious extremism has no place in public decision-making that can cost women their lives and freedom.”