The Republicans’ “Rape” Problem

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 25 2012 @ 11:09am


In a debate Tuesday for Indiana's Senate race, GOP candidate Richard Mourdock – the Tea Party favorite who ousted moderate Richard Lugar in the primaries – explained why he opposes rape and incest exceptions for anti-abortion laws:

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.

Mourdock has since clarified that "God does not want rape," arguing those who say he implied that that God intends rape are "absurd and sick." TNC doesn't buy it:

[I]f you believe that all human life is a gift, and if you believe God is a personal motivating force behind every single conception of human life, then it seems pretty logical to conclude that all pregnancies, even ones induced by rape, are "a gift from God."

Jonathan Weisman notes the irony that Mourdock's Democrat opponent, Joe Donnelly, co-sponsored the 2011 federal ban on abortion funding that changed the "rape" exception to "forcible rape." Irin Cameron zooms out:

Here’s why this is happening: The newer crop of Republican candidates and elected officials are, more often than not, straight from the base. They’re less polished than their predecessors; they’re more ideologically pure. As a result, they’ve accidentally been letting the mask slip and showing what’s really at the core of the right-to-life movement. 

And at that core is a vision of God controlling every tiny detail of our lives. I think Christianity is at its best accepting the mystery of the Hidden God, and seeing a distance between every act we choose or every event that happens the divine will or control. But then I'm not a fundamentalist. I've learned to let go as a Christian – and see in Christianity a divine intervention in our human affairs that asks of us simply to love God and each other as best we can, rather than an infinitely complex guide to everything in life. If you don't you end up in Mourdock land. Steve Benen supplies the above chart and underscores why the GOP should worry:

For the record, 83% of Americans believe it should be legal to terminate rape pregnancies. With public opinion, and basic human decency, in mind, perhaps Republicans should try to avoid discussing the issue for a while until the party comes up with a more compassionate, and less extreme, position.

Mourdock is so far the only Senate candidate Romney has released an ad for this year – something the DNC quickly pounced on with a web ad. Steve Kornacki analyzes the implications for the presidential election:

Key to Obama’s reelection is driving up support and enthusiasm among his core groups – which means, among other things, maximizing his already strong support from women. Republicans have been assisting Democrats with this task since 1980, but they’ve made it easier than ever this year, with a series of legislative initiatives and inflammatory comments from prominent party figures. News that a Republican Senate candidate is now talking about rape as part of God’s plan plays right into Obama’s hands.

On cue, the president capitalized on the comments last night on "The Tonight Show". One place you won't see them discussed:


Looking ahead, Jonathan Tobin explains how Akin and Mourdock's rape comments are likely to guarantee the survival of Obamacare:

[S]ince the [Mourdock] race was already a tossup, it’s hard to see how Donnelly can avoid pulling ahead in the coming days. That creates a situation where even Mitt Romney’s coattails — assuming he has any — won’t be enough to win the Republicans the four seats they need to become a majority in the Senate. This means that even if Romney is elected and the Republicans hold the House of Representatives, the repeal of ObamaCare is going to need some Democratic support in the Senate. If the repeal effort fails, the two seats the GOP appears to be losing as a result of the issue of rape and pregnancy will loom large in the history of this chapter of political history.