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The Scarlet 'A' - By Daniel Riordan

October 26, 2012

Starting Tuesday night, political pundits began writing the obituary of Richard Mourdock.
During a debate that night, Mourdock said:
“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
My biggest takeaway from that statement?
That Mourdock supports ANY exception regarding abortion.
Mourdock is as loved by the Christian Conservative, TEA Party base as anyone.
Especially because in Indiana, the TEA party’s approval ratings are as high as they are anywhere else.
For the record, according to the National Right To Life’s website. About four percent of abortions are attributed to the health of the mother. They list rape at less than .5 percent.
The numbers vary based on two studies of how many abortions take place each year. The Centers for Disease Control has it at 825,564 in 2008 while the Guttmacher Institute had it at 1.2 million-plus the same year. So if you split the difference you are at about 1 million abortions yearly.
Of course, Mourdock’s statement caused a fire storm.
Mitt Romney, the same week he cut a commercial for Mourdock, distanced himself from the comments.
Democrats hammered Mourdock for being pro-rape or whatever.
The American Family Association of Indiana released a statement to the media that read as follows:
“It is unfortunate that some in the media and certain political leaders would take the heartfelt words of Richard Mourdock, which were based upon his belief that all life matters to God, and attempt to distort them. This appears to be a blatant effort to capitalize on a different controversy in another state that stalled the race of another Senate candidate. It is obvious what Richard Mourdock meant to convey. To imply that he believes God supports rape is nothing more than a cheap political stunt and a distraction in this tightly contested, and vitally important race impacting so many issues that could actually come before the US Senate.”
This organization describes themselves as “non-partisan.”
I read that after I read a series of testimonials by Indiana Republicans and watched a tribute to Ronald Reagan.
Both sides shot at each other for politicizing Abortion. I love faux outrage.
I don’t want to try and get into Mr. Mourdock’s head. Mainly because its one that came up with a federal budget one analyst called “too kooky for words.”
But I know what he meant. Mourdock is a man of faith. And he believes that everything that happens in this world is God’s will.
My question is if pregnancy through rape is god’s will, aren’t all abortions as well? What about pregnancies carried to term where the health of the mother is in question?
For myself, I’m pro-life. But I’m also a pragmatist. You can’t eliminate the number of unwanted pregnancies without better educating people and providing birth control. You need to make it easier for loving families to adopt children.
This of course will never happen because that flies in the face of much religious doctrine.
But I want to move away from that. People have very passionate views about abortion and I don’t think it does any good to demean them.
I want to talk about this idea that Mourdock’s statement will doom him in the upcoming election.
I don’t believe that anyone who had intended on voting Mourdock won’t now because of his statement. And obviously it didn’t do anything to mobilize Joe Donnelly supporters toward Mourdock.
This reminded me of the Chick-Fil-A blowup. Everyone was up in arms over what Dan Cathy said. Why were we surprised? I think the food chain has been pretty up front about their beliefs. They aren’t open on Sundays for a reason.
Is it really that shocking when a religious fundamentalist, regardless of religion, states they adhere to doctrine?
This is a neck and neck race with double digits of people undecided.
Of those undecided, I’m guessing a fair amount would be troubled by Mourdock’s comments. Another fraction of that group would applaud Mourdock for having religious conviction.
I still think this race is too close to call.
I think Mourdock’s comments were clumsy at best. But I’m troubled by the obfuscation of the real matter at hand: Abortion.
Instead of being adults and sitting down and talking frankly and accurately about abortion, they result to name-calling and outrage.
Both sides use the issue for political gain then cry that the other side is politicizing the issue.
Through my life I’ve been friends with women who have been raped. I’ve been friends with women who have had abortions.
The emotional toll of both are tremendous.
But rather than get to the heart of those issues and coming up with real solutions, we have leaders in Washington and those trying to get there locked in a war of words.
Those women deserve better and honestly I think we deserve better from our so-called “leaders”.
Too much of the rhetoric is passed down from the top.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle spouting off the same talking points.
This is just yet another in a series of instances that convince me our system is fundamentally and irrevocably broken.

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