Thank the Good Lord I am not a politician. If I were running for office, what I am about to write would undoubtedly cause me to plummet in the polls and induce a heart attack for my campaign manager. It is up to us – bloggers, polemicists, wags, editorialists, etc. – to say plainly and boldly what politicians cannot say. By now hundreds if not thousands of us on the pro-life side of the spectrum have weighed in on the mountain that the Obama campaign and the leftist media have made out of the molehill of the “rape exception” that many self-identified pro-lifers hold. FYI: it is a molehill not because rape is no big deal, but because less than 1% of abortions are performed on rape babies. I don’t know if what I have to say will be different from what you have read, but I’m about to douse this issue in gasoline and light a match, so check yourselves now.
When Todd Akin made his remarks about pregnancy becoming difficult or impossible in the case of rape, he was roundly denounced from the grassroots to the establishment levels of pro-life politics. In that case, I thought it was fair enough to chastise a man who decided to speak about a sensitive topic on which he was obviously not well-versed. The actual content of his remarks was not offensive. It is in fact true that heightened levels of stress can reduce the chances of pregnancy, and rape is obviously a stressful situation to say the least. But this probability reduction certainly isn’t significant enough to mention in a public interview, especially when that particular part of Akin’s response had nothing to do with the question being asked. For his ineptitude, he was rightly scorned.
Now we have Richard Mourdock. Just Googling his name right now gets me the following hit: “Richard Mourdock, Mitt Romney, and the GOP Defense of Coerced Mating.” I won’t even bother with a hyperlink. If you want to dig through the digital trash and find it, be my guest. The title alone says more than whatever vapid leftish commentary contained beneath it will. Anyone who isn’t a despicable liar knows that no one in the GOP has ever publicly defended or apologized for rape. In fact, Republicans are far more likely to advocate executing rapists or at least extending their prison sentences than Democrats. Do we even need to discuss at length the disconnect in the thinking of people who make deterministic excuses for every sort of violent criminal and then cry to the heavens at the thought that someone might have made an excuse for the crime they committed? If some (not all, of course) of the same people screaming and whining now about Mourdock were in charge of the criminal justice system, it might look a little something like this. How would the
political pawns rape victims feel about that?
But that’s a ways off. Let’s return to the present: what did Mourdock say that was so terribly wrong? That out of tragedy, God can make something good. Out of pain and suffering, a miracle can occur. He most certainly did not say that God wills for a person to be raped. Only men, using the free will that fashionable academics and Calvinists deny, can do that. There’s really nothing more to it than that. I won’t spend more time on it because it has already been discussed to death.
But I do want to focus on the deeper issues raised by this phony controversy. It is important to speak truth to power, and that is what we are always doing when are speaking on behalf of beings that cannot speak for themselves, imploring those with power over them to spare their lives because the laws will not do so as they ought. It is not said quite so bluntly in the the soft conservative media, but the basic premise of the “rape exception” position grows from the same root of the emotional outrage of the left, which is the idea that rape babies deserve to die. Even people who find the abortion of merely unwanted babies distasteful can’t agree fast enough that if a woman is impregnated as a result of rape, absolutely nothing should stand between her and the nearest baby butcher.
I can live with the fact that the vast majority of people are morally inconsistent, and that they don’t spend nearly as much time as they ought thinking about the difficult moral questions that every generation has to face. Fine. But that has no bearing on what people who know better have an obligation to say and do in public, before the world, as representatives of the pro-life cause. So I think perhaps every GOP politician ought to be forced to memorize a pat answer that can be instantly deployed whenever a leftist weasel attempts to get them to say something incriminating. It might go something like this:
Totally Unbiased Journalist With No Ulterior Motive: So, is it true that you think women who are raped should be forced to carry their rapists baby? That she shouldn’t have the right to control her own body in this most terrible situation?
Informed Pro-Life Politician: Let me tell you what I think. I believe, first of all, that it is never permissible, under any circumstances, to willfully and knowingly take the life of an innocent human being. This is not simply a position that is dictated to me by my church or my pastor, but it follows from our shared heritage of natural law, respect for human rights, and the protection of the most vulnerable members of our society. Rape is a barbaric act deserving of the most severe penalties that we can get away with under the 8th amendment. But while individuals may commit barbaric acts every day, we do not become a barbaric society until we institutionalize and legitimize barbarism as we have with abortion on demand.
Our civilization rests upon the recognition of certain inalienable human rights, and the first of these is the right to life. A rapist takes away a woman’s control of her own body in the most vile way imaginable. But an innocent unborn child does no such thing. It had no say over the circumstances that brought it into this world. Because it is innocent, an act of violence against it would be an immoral act of aggression. Moreover, in our society, there are many organizations that are able and willing to provide aid to the victims of rape and to pregnant women in every sort of difficult circumstance. There are also millions of couples willing to adopt every kind of child, even those with serious disabilities. All of this taken into consideration, it would unconscionable to argue that children who are the product of consensual relations are worthy of protection under the law, while those who are the product of rape are marked for death. Whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, the circumstances of life’s creation can have no bearing on the legal status of that life if we are to be honest and consistent as a society.
And yes I know all about Romney’s rape exception. Who doesn’t? If I can actually hold my paleo-libertarian nose long and hard enough to cast my vote for him contra Obama (who supports infanticide, which is far worse than a “rape exception”), it will have nothing to do with this issue. Romney likely won’t even be able to do much about the 99+% of abortions that have nothing to do with rape, so it wouldn’t be sensible to expect anything on behalf of rape babies, the most disposable non-human non-members of society.
Finally: I already know the standard objection. I am a heartless jerk who doesn’t care about women. Well, how about this: I support the second amendment rights of women, so that they can obtain weapons and defend themselves. I support laws that allow them to do so with lethal force and without fear of juridical reprisal. I believe penalties for rape should be severe enough to serve as a real deterrent, which they never will as long as left-wing lawyers and judges dominate the judicial system. I believe radical pro-choice outfits should stop harassing pro-life pregnancy centers and other organizations that are out there providing millions of women with financial, social and emotional support. And at the end of the day, I don’t believe that women who actually go through with an abortion under such circumstances should be thrown in prison, but I do believe that the medical frauds who kill babies for a living should be tossed into a dungeon and the keys jettisoned into outer space.