How rape has become a political issue in the 2012 elections indicates how far political debate has fallen. A Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock could be discounted as an extremist who somehow grabbed a major party nomination in a fluke election, if there was just one of them. Akin and Mourdock are not one though. They are just two of many.
The abortion debate has lost its sanity. It is no longer a matter of choice and morality. It is an attempt to put the cultural changes of the last 50 years back into the bottle where they came. The abortion debate has shifted to where the arguments now being presented by pro-life forces are that a woman should be forced to bear the repercussions of rape. If she is a young woman victimized by incest, then it is also her burden to bear a pregnancy to its end. If her life is endangered through the pregnancy, then it should be out of the hands of medicine to save her if there is any chance the fetus might perish.
This is what might be expecteded from polygamist Warren Jeffs who is now serving time for promoting marriage between his male followers and underage girls. In Jeffs’ world, women have few rights. There are those on the extreme of the pro-life movement who are growing in power and influence who believe essentially the same thing.
Amazingly, they believe that their ideas are wrapped in fact, truth and science. That is why Akin said it was impossible for a woman to get pregnant in a forced rape. He believed that there was some magical process where pregnancy is only possible when a woman gives her consent. In that case, abortion is simply a lifestyle choice. If she had not consented to sex, then she wouldn’t have got pregnant.
Mourdock’s view is even crazier.
“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said.
Mourdock tried to backtrack immediately afterwards when confronted by his words.
“Are you trying to suggest somehow that God preordained rape, no I don’t think that. Anyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that’s not even close to what I said.”
God didn’t “preordain” the rape, but He did approve the pregnancy. That isn’t the same thing is Mourdock’s argument. We have now reached the alternative universe where a rapist is a responsible for the rape but not the pregnancy. This comes from members of the political party that stresses individual responsibility and a pro-victim platform on crime.
Apparently, there is an exception for rape victims. They aren’t necessarily victims.
The kicker is that Mourdock believes one of the major things he will bring to the U.S. Senate is an understanding of science, as his website proclaims in his explanation on energy:
As a geologist, Richard will bring a much-needed scientific perspective to a debate dominated by lawyers and politicians.
Really…Mourdock is a scientist. He is a scientist who denies climate change, evolution, and that a pregnancy can happen without God’s will. It’s an alternate reality where science is manufactured to fit an ideology, but it’s happening on a grand scale and enveloping the bulk of the Republican Party.
This is the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower. It was a party that professed change, progress and marching into the future. Now it has been taken over by a caveman ideology where women can be dragged off as sex toys and forced to bear the consequences for the rest of their lives, whether they like it or not.
Akin and Mourdock aren’t just a couple of Neanderthal-thinking politicians with this idea either. They aren’t outliers in the Republican Party. They are becoming mainstream.
Back in August, Iowa Rep. Steve King said that he had never heard of a woman getting pregnant through rape or incest. More recently, Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh said it was never medically necessary for a woman to have an abortion to save her life. While it is true, that they backed off these comments when faced with a hailstorm of criticism, it doesn’t seem to inhibit these outlandish statements from emerging in the first place.
It isn’t just the heat of a campaign causing foolish statements by candidates trying to salvage a victory. Here is Newt Gingrich saying that almost every Catholic agrees with Richard Mourdock.
It isn’t about science and facts anymore. It is about a complete disregard for common sense. Simple reasoning has gone off-kilter as a victim of political extremism. It all could be dismissed as a joke to laugh at if it wasn’t so frightening.