Rape and Abortion: Mourdock’s Inhumane World Exists South of Our Border

If Americans want to know what the country would be like if abortion was illegal, they need to look no farther than Latin America

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Raul Ferrari / Telam / AP

Abortion rights activists protest outside a hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a judge intervened in the scheduled abortion of a woman rescued from a prostitution ring. Argentina's Supreme Court ruled Oct. 12, 2012, that the 32-years old woman must be allowed to have the abortion.

I’m proud to have been born and raised in Indiana, but I’ve got a question for my fellow Hoosiers: Do you miss Dick yet? That is, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, the legendary statesman and moderate Republican who was defeated in the GOP primary this year by conservative Christian Tea Partyer Richard Mourdock — who during a debate this week said that if a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, “that is something that God intended to happen.” Mourdock later clarified the appalling remark, insisting he only meant that the pregnancy, not the rape, was God’s will. But as Mourdock’s benighted kindred spirit and Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin will tell him, not even the Almighty can pull you out of a verbal ditch that deep.

(MORE: Uruguay Diverges from a Continent Where Abortion Is Worse Than Rape)

At least not in the U.S., where in a CNN/ORC poll this year a resounding 83% of Americans said that no matter where they stood generally on abortion, it should always be permitted in cases of rape or incest. But the likes of Mourdock and Akin would be right at home in the part of the world I cover: Latin America. Whenever they hear pols like Mourdock go off, in fact, Americans would do well to look south of their borders as a reminder that his cruel world isn’t just a delusion. No region has as many countries (five) that ban abortion in all cases, even rape and when the mother’s life is at risk, or sees as many instances of judges and other government officials rejecting women’s requests for legal abortions, especially in cases of rape. Those draconian policies result from a belief, driven largely by the inordinate political power of Latin America’s Catholic and Evangelical churches, that pregnancy of any kind is God’s inviolable will — and the heartbreak it causes is epic.

All too typical are nightmares like that of a 13-year-old Peruvian girl known as “L.C.,” who in 2007 became pregnantafter being raped repeatedly — but who couldn’t get an abortion because Peru, while allowing abortion if a woman’s life is at risk, bans it in cases of rape. Distraught, L.C. attempted suicide by throwing herself off a roof; she gravely injured her spine instead. Yet doctors, cowed by the law, wouldn’t perform the necessary surgery because they feared it might terminate the pregnancy. L.C. miscarried anyway and today is a quadriplegic.(Last year the U.N. ordered Peru to compensate the girl.) Or the case of a 32-year-old woman in Argentina who had been kidnapped, forced to work in a prostitution ring and raped. Despite everything she’d been through, an Argentine judge rejected her claim of rape — then helped leak her identity so anti-abortion protesters could demonstrate in front of the woman’s home shouting, “Murderer!” Argentina’s Supreme Court finally ruled this month that she can have an abortion.

(MORE: Sorry Rome: U.S. Catholics Are More Like Melinda Gates)

As a result, few regions see more women seek unsafe clandestine abortions than they do in Latin America: more than 4 million a year, according to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute. A quarter of them, not surprisingly, end up hospitalized or worse from complications. Making matters worse is the scant access Latin American women have to birth control — a big reason some countries, especially in Central America, see maternal mortality rates (100 deaths per 100,000 births in Nicaragua) 20 times higher than Western Europe’s. Nor are restrictions like the rape refusal a deterrent: Latin America still has one of the world’s highest abortion rates, more than 30 per 1,000 women of childbearing age. The U.S. rate is fewer than 20.

Fortunately, the U.S. has so far rejected Latin America’s brand of abortion extremism. Even Mississippi, a bastion of Christian conservatism, last year rejected a “personhood” amendment that declared life begins at conception — the sort of stance Mourdock and company would use to deny abortion rights to rape victims. Most U.S. Catholics reject their church’s atavistic teaching that abortion is unacceptable even in cases of rape or incest. Most U.S. Catholics, in fact, think abortion should be kept legal in most cases.

The message here, for everyone from Mourdock to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the pro-life lawmakers who have recently tried to narrow the definition of rape, is that most Americans don’t just believe that barring abortion in cases of rape would be unjust policy. We also think, especially given that most of us believe in God, that it’s inhumane theology. And we’ve got Latin American stories like L.C.’s to remind us why.

MORE: Why Radical Pro-Lifers Are Wasting Their Time

90 comments
peter204
peter204

This article is incredibly disturbing.  Even more, it exemplifies the fact that politicians in this country seem to forget that church and state are separate within America.  I often hear of politicians making religious statements in speeches, but I don't understand why they feel they must do so if our government is secular.  How can it be that a supposedly secular institution still has so many religious implications? 

Feelings
Feelings

There was a time when men were kind, when their voices were soft and their words inviting.
There was a time when love was blind, and the world was a song, and the song was exciting.
There was a time...
Then it all went wrong...

I hate rape.

Okay besides that cheesy introduction, I believe that abortion depends on person to person. If, like in this case, women are driven to suicide about the baby due to the rape, then yes. Get the abortion. That's killing two instead of one.

However, I do agree that the baby shouldn't be aborted other than if it risks the lives of one or both the mother and child. It is not the child's fault that his/her mother got raped. The child is still the mother's, and mothers should have the maternal instinct to protect and love their baby, no matter what. Again, like someone else mentioned in the comments, abortion will not change the fact that the lady was raped. The lady was raped, and that's that. Can't change the past. Abortion is not a time machine, nor is it an undo button. So baby or no, you were still raped. Not only that, but when the baby grows up, the lady will realize that although she was raped, she will never regret not having her child, because (although I'm not very religious) a child is God's best blessing.

My aunt was very close to having an abortion, but because she chose not to, I have a very happy and beautiful, 15 year old cousin.

ChristineSnakeDizard
ChristineSnakeDizard

You may want to edit your article.  Last paragraph, " most Americans don’t just believe that barring abortion in cases of rape would be unjust policy."  I think you meant that most Americans don't believe that it would be a JUST policy.


Sonja
Sonja

There is no difference between Talibans of Islam and Talibans of Chritians. Both just as inhumane.

ShamsAci
ShamsAci

The question is what would be social status and destiny of the children born out of  raped or unmarried women?

- A.R.Shams's Reflection - Press and Online Publications. http//:arshamssreflectio.blogspot.com

BrentHill
BrentHill

There is nothing more dangerous or unbalanced as the religious zealot, be it christian, muslim or sihk. All will kill to enforce their idea of what is "right".

HenryMajor
HenryMajor

If God lets Obama win, will the Tea Partyers view it as His will?

Martian_14
Martian_14

No wonder Latin America is nicknamed Latrine America by its own inhabitants...

Abortion is forbidden in Latin America, yet the numbers of illegal abortion in the continent are astronomical. If one has the money, it is relatively easy to get one...

pbernasc
pbernasc

Now, lets break down  Mourdock's statement into small easy to follow logic reasoning steps: "Pregnancy from Rape or incest is Gods will."

So, if that's true, it means God is controlling the semen of the rapist, because if God is controlling her pregnancy, he must be in control of the rapist's sperm. Right? God can do that, he is omnipotent. Makes sense? So, here is the situation ... there is a violent man, with his penis erected, aroused as they say, inside the vagina of a woman.  His violent sexual aggression is raping her flesh apart causing physical and psychological pain and damage.He ends his did by ejaculating inside her, obviously against her will. What does God do about this? 

According to Mourdock, God intervenes and guides the ejaculate of the criminal violent man to make sure she gets pregnant.

Here is what I think: GOD is a freaking scumbag and clearly a witness to sexual offense and therefore accessory to rape under the law because he was there when she was being raped and did nothing, actually took care to guide the rapist's sperm to a successful pregnancy, se he is indeed an accomplice of the rapist man.

CONCLUSIONIf God ever shows up in California, the DA should arrest him and persecute him as a serial rapist and sexual offender, So, watch God in your residential area, he might be on the list of local sex offenders.

pbernasc
pbernasc

what motivates a grown up person to say/think such a non nonsensical and deeply mean statement toward women?

I mean, when I was growing up I loved all females .. such an interesting kind of creature, isn't it? Really .. I was getting so much energy from my GFs .. it's such a beautiful thing to be free and without fears, once you educate yourself about how to have a good relationship and good sex with your GF when u r a teenager ... man you grow up to be a real man.

What kind of jerk nerd dork must Murdoch have been when he was a teenager, to grow up to be a man who says  that pregnancy from rape or incest is Gods will? How can he be so mentally twisted to think a woman would like to carry inside her the baby of her rapist or worst the baby from her father??????   

Did he ever had a good love experience both physically and emotionally when he was a teenager? I don't think so  .. if you are a mind free of fear and have learned to be a man for your woman, you will never say such a thing, never.

So, more than the outrage of what he said, his statement tells me he is a deeply troubled individual who has yet to become a man

pbernasc
pbernasc

When I was 12, I remember I made the decision that I would stop reading any religious book.

I understood this wasn't meant to help me, it was meant to control me. 

Where I come from in school religion is a mandatory class if your parents make  you go to (officially there is a state financed class for all major religions, as long as enough students are enrolled in a specific class, this is for middle and high school). However, the law also says that religious and sexual freedom are achieved both for boys and girls at age 16, meaning that the parents have no longer legal control on what you do with your sex nor what religion you want or not to believe in as soon as their children are 16 or older. 

I had to go to the class, cause my parents told me to and if I didn't, I'd be in school troubles .. meaning I'd be risking to get kicked out. 

On day one of my 16th year I communicated to my parents, no more mass participation, no more religion class. I was free!

I was free of God and its BS. Oh, I really enjoyed the sex freedom too. man oh man ... why do we have to grow older., me and my girlfriend had one hour of free time once a week at school, since most of the kids went to the religion class. He he ... my religion after 16 was very sexual ;-)

I have been free since that day. They should make it so all over the world, at 16, you get to dump God and get laid instead,

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

We need to bring to full term all of the frozen embryos in stock, which fundamentalists refuse to allow for stem cell research.  I suggest we open clinics in the fundamentalist churches for implantation.

Atropos22
Atropos22

I want to know if these same candidates in the US are ever going to be asked if their platform also includes harsher penalties for those who commit rape and incest, if they will immediately introduce laws severing the attackers parental rights to the child (31 states allow rapists those rights), and if now-pregnant mother will be given ANY government assistance for health services (including access to a psychologist since so many victims of rape and incest are suicidal), assistance funding (food, diapers, housing, etc), or education assistance for that kid at some point since this same government is forcing her to have this baby.  My guess is their answer will be a resounding no.

AlgeriaTouchshriek
AlgeriaTouchshriek

People are also missing the important fact that Mourdock chose an argument by theology to justify his stance.  Sorry, sir, but this is America -- not everybody has the same belief system as you do.  I am reminded that perhaps the greatest hubris of mankind has been to fashion God in his own image.

victoria
victoria

If everything that happens is the will of God, then that includes abortions. Perhaps God's will is something we mustn't boast to understand. Christian fanatics actually believe that THEY control God's will.

LordDragon
LordDragon

Raped and forced to deliver. That's treating women like pigs. You might's as well slaughter her too and get it over with bu that would be too humane. 

vanstonera2
vanstonera2

"Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. Hebreathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became aliving person."  -Genesis 2:7

Just as a fetus is no more human than the dust on the ground in the eyes of God, until of course, he/she receives the breath of life and is granted an ever lasting soul.

bh4099
bh4099

@cameroncrazies And yet with legal abortion we have a lower rate of abortion than some countries which ban it entirely. It appears that by legalizing abortion we are creating an environment where it is less likely to happen. But I've come to see that reducing the number of abortions is not the true goal of most anti-abortionists. (Note they frequently oppose birth control and sex education).  Their goal is simply to make abortion illegal--no more, no less. But what does it matter to the fetus if it is aborted legally or illegally?

AmberMiller
AmberMiller

I found this article to be deceptive. First i strongly oppose abortion as it is murder. Abortion is a part of the war on family, the war on children, ultimately a culture of death, a murderous war on life itself that sees human life as rubbish with no value. It violates the right of every person to be born and to live. However I would accept  a ban on abortion except in cases of rape, or where the mothers life is in jeopardy or the baby would not live. To suggest that people who are opposed to killing babies, inside or outside the womb, like rape, is outrageous of a slander. I am strongly opposed to rape and I think we should prosecute those who do it. The baby is innocent, and it would be injust to punish and kill the baby for something that was not the babies fault. How could anyone say the baby is terrible? babies are wonderful and precious and we should respect. You would be surprised how many musicians, and scientists and so on may have been concieved by rape. yes, rape is a tragedy but to say the human being that might result is terrible is just such an insulting, immoral view of human life. In the case of rape, the baby that might result is something wonderful that came out of something terrible. Try telling someone who is a musician or a scientist that have been concieved in rape that they should not have been born but should have been murdered and thrown away. But this is the murderous ideology that devalues Human life that views babies as disposable rubbish that can be thrown away when not needed. This promotes immoral and selfish ideologies that threaten to destroy our society and our respect for all human life and as well for family values which are critical for social health. We need to have a society where everyone takes on the responsibility of having a family and providing a healthy, safe home for children, a house filled with childrens laughter. We must defeat the abortionists murderous killing of our babies, which have killed millions of babies, whose laughter, smiles and potential gifts will never be known in this world. We must see children as precious, invaluable gifts from god, and which belong to god, parents are the caretaker and protector of the child, which is  only belongs to god. This family values system will also help assure that children grow up in a healthy household, family values is particularly about the values we teach parents to both have children, respect all life from the moment of conception, and love their children, providing a safe household forn them, so the children are encouraged to develop to use their god given gifts to make the world a better place in a loving, supporting family. The fact is, the scientific fact is that human life begins at conception, this is when the person is formed, their DNA and genetic blueprint and they begin to develop as a seperate organism according to their own DNA and genetic blueprint and their own accord. The fact that the baby is defenceless and cannot protect itself and dependant does not mean that it does not deserve protection but that it needs more protection from harm. A baby either inside or outside the womb is defenceless, is totally dependant and very fragile and needs protection and love. The Baby is a human being inside and outside the womb, the baby does not magically materialize out of nothing when passing through the birth canal. In fact, a person is always developing and physical growth is constant from conception to when the person is 20 and intellectual growth continues long after. Conception is where life begins because that it is where a persons body, identity, genetics, DNA all originate and the person begins lifelong development as a human being. Every person  is a unique one of a kind gift from god with special gifts that they can utilize to make the world a better place, with potential given to them by god. That persons identity has his beginning at conception when the genetic blueprint of that person comes into being and they become a rapidly self developing human being. The scientist, artist, musician andf so on all have their origins and their life path began at that moment of conception. We need to promote family values and a culture where everyone loves children and where raising children is the primary goal of everyones life, a house full of children, should be our highest priority so we encourage a society that encourages an values everyone to provide an environment were children grows up where they are loved and encouraged to use their god give, unique gifts which they are given by god at the moment of conception when that person came into being and they originated as a human being with full rights to life at that moment. Teaching such selfless values of family values and respect for life reduces violence and crime in our society, judeo-christian religion is an essential aspect of this by providing the moral and ethical guide that people need to raise healthy children in a loving environment. This begins with banning abortion and the entire abortion mentality of selfishness that sees children as disposable rubbish. If a childs parents are not fit to raise the child the child can be adopted. Abortion in any case however is unacceptable and it is murder.

EricScher
EricScher

When you begin an article with a premise that arises from something somepublic figure said, you should take care not to intentionally misquote thespeaker or distort the quote. It destroys your credibility right off thebat.

Regardless of anyone's stance on anything, you don't serve your cause bylying.

For the record, here is the full quote:

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize lifeis thatgift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horriblesituation ofrape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Yes, Mourdock is saying that a pregnancy is God'swill.     Maybe you agree, maybe you don't.

Yes, Mourdock is implying that a child conceived during rape is not at faultfor that crime and the child's life has no less value than one conceived duringan act of love.     Maybe you agree, maybe you don't.

Regardless of how you feel about the issue, you should at least begin from anhonest POSITION; or you cannot consider yourself an honest PERSON.

TrsSmith
TrsSmith

Welcome to today's Catholic church - a TOTAL embarrassment!

bh4099
bh4099

In this democratic republic we simply can't use philosophy or religious interpretations to write our laws. There are just too many interpretations, for instance the Bible refers several times to "the quick and the dead" being subject to judgement. The quick being the fetus which has quickened in the womb. By this verse one can assume that the non-quick (approx 4 mo gestation) are not considered fully human by God. We must use our own brains and experience to decide issues, and not ancient texts meant for spiritual reflection, not governing.

cameroncrazies
cameroncrazies

Please, this is malarkey, as Joe Biden might say.  Mr. Padgett tries to come up with the most extreme examples from another country to justify his pro-abortion positon.  Ok, let me tell you about the doctors that crush the skull of 8.5 month old babies (oh yeah, fetuses) as they come out of the birth canal LEGALLY in places like Illinois. 

Hey, that's not fair.  Partial birth abortion is a red herring, you say.  The bigger issue is that a culture that won't stand for innocent life is one that is in the stages of a great decline.  My belief in a Higher Power who loves it's Creation makes me fearful that this GENOCIDE of the most innocent among us is a CANCER on our national soul. 

I don't want to legislate these tough choices, but I want to stop demonizing heartfelt pro-lifers by an entrenched vehemently pro-abortion establishment, which quietly believes like Margaret Sanger (the racist founder of Planned Parenthood) that we would be better off without these unloved and unlovely children of less desirables.  In the eyes of God (there I said it) they are every bit as worthy of life as the Kennedys, Schrivers, Bidens, Obamas, Rockefellers and all the high brow families that claim to be concerned to "protect" their right to destroy their own kin.

seriouslypeople
seriouslypeople

Really?  So, if someone is traveling and is bitten by a mosquito and develops malaria, that person shouldn't be able to ask a doctor for medicine to cure them of this disease because it was God's will that they should be bitten by that mosquito at that particular time, correct?  You can't make only selective (horrible) things "God's Will!" and everything else not. 

dj2645m
dj2645m

Why is it OK to kill a child? Why, under ANY circumstances is it OK? Is it not a double tragedy? I also want to ask why this question was asked. Was it because the moderator was a leftist pig or because they truly wanted to “Know”? This was a set up and it is disgusting that people like you and this hack of a “Reporter” so that you can set up people of conscience just so you can move forward on your killing spree?I am a CHRISTIAN, meaning that I believe that EVERYTHING HAPPENDS BECAUSE OF GOD”S PLAN! You cannot explain it but it is the fact. The other fact is that you are all bloodletting killers who allow MILLIONS of innocent babies to be killed every year. Does that bother you at all, To allow the torture and death of the unborn? You are all hypocrites and you do not deserve to be called Journalists.

DeCristofaro
DeCristofaro

It is unfortunate that we are now calling the word of God inhumane.  For clarification, Mourdock was wrong.  It is not God's will for a woman to suffer in rape.  It is not God's will for a woman to get pregnant from that horrible act.  God's promise is out of those awful things, He can use them for good.  We want to blame God for the awful things that happen, when it is simply people exercising their own free will apart from Him.   However, God does value all life.  I cringed when I heard what Mr Mourdock said, and the impending media backlash to follow.  What bugs me is those who try explain God who obviously have never cracked open His book.  

jswenson2339
jswenson2339

Mr Mourdock, in the context of your total statement, how can you possibly try to separate your religious beliefs from the crime you were commenting on.  Your comment was on the Whole statement, not just on the subject of pregnancy.  To force a woman  to carry the child of the criminal who raped her is not the work of any God, an elected official or decent human being should support.  Line up all the women in your life and give the Rapist the same opportunity with your family if you believe so strongly that this is your God's will.   Take this challenge or get out of Office!  Show your Faith Sir, your full Faith in your God.