On Tuesday night, during a debate with challenger Joe Donnelly (D-IN), State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) said that women who had been raped should not have access to abortion services, explaining that pregnancies resulting from the violent act are a “gift from God.”
“The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother,” Mourdock claimed. “I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen. “
Sadly, Mourdock — who Mitt Romney endorsed just days ago — is one of a growing number of (mostly) male Republicans who are seeking to roll back women’s access to legal abortion services, particularly in cases of rape:
— REP. TODD AKIN (R-MO): “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
— REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): In an interview with Iowa’s KMEG-TV, King denied ever hearing about anyone getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest, saying: “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
— REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT (R-MD): At a town hall, Bartlett responded to a question about abortion by reiterating his longstanding opposition to the procedure in every case except for rape, incest, and if the life of the woman is in danger. But when an audience member pressed Bartlett on the rape exception, he suggested that few pregnancies result from rape.
— LINDA MCMAHON: the Connecticut senate hopeful told a local newspaper that Catholic hospitals should not be required to provide emergency contraception to victims of rape. “I mean it’s a separation of church and state in my view, and I think that a religious institution has the right to decide what its policies would be in that, in that case,” she claimed. She later reversed herself.
— TOM SMITH: the Republican challenging Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-PA) seat, suggested that having a child out of wedlock was analogous to rape during an interview with a reporter at a press club this afternoon, claiming that it would have a “similar” effect on a father.
— STATE REP. ROGER RIVARD (R-WI): the state lawmakers, who also won Paul Ryan’s backing, claimed that some girls “rape easy” and sometimes portray a sexual encounter as rape if they become pregnant.
— STATE REP. JIM BUCHY (R-OH): admitted that never thought about why a woman would want an abortion. After an Al Jazeera reporter asked Buchy why he thinks some women may want to have an abortion, he fumbled for an appropriate response before admitting he had never thought about that question before.
Indeed, the radical attitude about abortion — and particularly the dangerous move to narrow the definition of sexual assault and qualify the types of violent sexual crimes that are “legitimate” enough to warrant an abortion — extends throughout the Republican Party and its presidential ticket.
The 2012 GOP platform calls for a ban on all abortions without even the narrowest of exceptions, such as in cases of rape and incest. Romney claims that the procedure should remain legal if the life of the woman is in danger or if she had been raped or a victim of incest, though he has previously lent his support to a state personhood amendment that would endow fertilized eggs with the rights of humans and restrict abortion in all cases. During a 2007 GOP primary debate, Romney also said he would be “delighted” to sign a bill outlawing all abortions.
Ryan too has backed a federal personhood measure and supported legislation (along with at least 68 House Republicans) seeking to prevent Medicaid recipients who are raped from obtaining an abortion unless they can prove they are victims of “forcible rape.” Since his first House campaign in 1998, Ryan also claimed that abortion should be illegal except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life.”
We can definitively add Ohio Senate hopeful Josh Mandel (R-OH) to the list. At a debate Thursday night, Mandel made his opposition to abortion rights for rape victims clear. When asked why his proposal for an abortion ban does not provide exceptions for victims or rape or incest, Mandel simply said, “I do support exceptions for the life of the mother.”