Rapists and Extremist Republicans: They Both De-Personify Women

Posted on October 25, 2012


Here we go again.  I wasn’t planning to write about politics again so soon, but how can this be ignored?  This time it’s Indiana’s Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, saying that “Life is that gift from God.  I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”  As in:  abortion should never be legal.  Ever.

There are two huge problems with this coming from a would-be lawmaker:

First, his view is a minority view in this country, which he would seek to impose upon the majority.  According to Gallup polling, 77% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in “some or all cases.”  This includes the 25% who think it should be legal in all cases; only 20% of the American public believe it should never be legal.  Why should the 20% be allowed to impose their will on the 77%?  Shoot, why should the 20% even be allowed to override the 25% who think it should always be legal?

Second, Mourdock’s view springs from a purely religious basis, in a country where fully 20% of the population does not identify with any religion at all, and many more only nominally so, not to mention that we have a lot of non-Christian religious minorities as well.  We are supposed to have separation of church and state in this country; it is in our Constitution; it has been a guiding principle since the Founders.  It’s one thing to argue in favor of laws based on ethical and even moral concerns, but to cite one’s personal beliefs or church dogma about “God” or “God’s will” in matters of lawmaking is the very basis of a theocracy.  It is a blatant, open, baldfaced effort to impose ultraconservative Christian religious ideals on us all, and the most frightening thing is that guys like Mourdock don’t see any problem with this.

Although Mourdock and politicians like him are in a minority segment of the American population, their roles as lawmakers give them an outsized impact on everyone else.  In Republican-sponsored laws popping up all over the country, their extremist, minority religious views are being forced upon a majority of Americans, and depriving them – especially women – of their hard-won legal rights and choices.

An American woman is a full-fledged, competent person, and has the inalienable right to her own body and destiny… until someone takes that away.  Rapists and conservative politicians are pretty much working together, however unintentionally, to de-personify women.   Rape is about taking control away from the victim, and imposing the rapist’s will.  Conservative laws also take control away from the victim and impose the will of politicians.  For the law to deny an impregnated rape victim control over her own reproductive choice – and even, in many cases, to deny her control over the resulting child (rapists, astoundingly, can sue for parental rights in many states) – only further dehumanizes the rape victim, and compounds her trauma many times over.  The woman is no longer a person, if she ever was.  Her rapist has rights, her embryo has rights, but she does not.  She only has responsibility, obstacles,  expense, and torment.

It is no wonder that 50% of impregnated rape victims choose abortion, and that is every bit as valid as the 32.2% who choose to give birth and keep the infant.*  The important thing is, it must remain our choice.  Guys like Mourdock want to take that choice away entirely, based on their own personal religious beliefs.

*  The remaining victims either miscarried or placed the infants for adoption.

Related articles:

Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape

Impregnated by Rape.  And the Rapist Has Parental Rights.

Ultraconservative Women: Choose for Yourselves, But Not for Me

Can Any Self-Respecting Woman Vote Republican? Yes, If She’s Ultraconservative