Political Animal


October 24, 2012 9:32 AM Antichoice Mask Slips

By Ed Kilgore

So what bad luck, eh? In a second close and crucial U.S. Senate race, the Republican nominee says something shocking about the law and ethics of abortion in cases of rape, and the Liberal Media looks likely to devour him over it. This time it’s Richard Mourdock of Indiana, whose primary victory over long-time Senator Richard Lugar wasn’t initially thought to endanger GOP control of this seat. Evan McMorris-Santoro of TPM has the basics on what Mourdock did to himself in a televised debate with Democrat Joe Donnelly:

Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock became the latest Republican to wander into eyebrow-raising territory when it came to the discussion of rape and abortion during a Senate debate Tuesday night.
Defending his stance that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape, Mourdock explained that pregnancy resulting from nonconsensual sex is the will of God.
“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

In an indication that Mourdock’s grasp of theology isn’t much deeper than his understanding of how to disguise offensive views, he tried post-debate to make a distinction between the idea of God ordaining rape—that would be “sick, twisted,” he said—and the idea of God ordaining the impregnation of rape victims, who must then carry the pregnancy to term under state compulsion in Mourdock’s vision of a good society.

What’s interesting about all this isn’t what Mourdock believes—his position on abortion without exceptions for rape and incest is, after all, enshrined in the Republican National Platform and until a few weeks ago was the longstanding personal position of the GOP’s vice presidential nominee. As Irin Carmon of Salon noted immediately, Mourdock and Akin have let slip the mask of the antichoice movement, which in the past has been so good at distracting attention from its ultimate aims while shedding crocodile tears over late-term abortions or public funding or other ancillary issues.

What are you if you think a woman’s right to her own body should be entirely subordinate to the possibility of an hours-old fertilized egg, and thus want to ban emergency contraception, as Akin does? What are you if you essentially render a pregnant woman an an incubator, as Akin did when he described pregnancy as, “All you add is food and climate control, and some time, and the embryo becomes you or me”? What with all of the double-talk, I’ll be plain. You’re a misogynist.

For the most part, serious antichoicers try not to discuss in public their ironclad conviction that once sperm meets egg, a woman becomes nothing more than a procreation machine, with not only abortion but most forms of what the rest of us understand to be contraceptives off the table because someone somewhere thinks they might interfere with a fertilized ovum.

So Mourdock’s misfortune, like Akin’s, isn’t a matter of bad luck, much less of media persecution over “gotcha questions” or policy details, but instead an example of exposed deception over something very basic to a candidate’s claim to want to represent the citizenry, including the half that happens to be composed of women.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Stetson Kennedy on October 24, 2012 9:40 AM:

    I'm confused. Mourdock also said that he supported a woman's right to abortion to save the life of the mother, but why wouldn't her death also be "something that God intended to happen"?

  • Solid Sid on October 24, 2012 9:42 AM:

    Donnelly needs to copy the ads that McCaskill is running here in Missouri. The ad features a pro-life Republican woman who was raped and was offered the emergency abortion procedure in the emergency room. She then says that she has never voted for Claire McCaskill but will now because Akin's views and beliefs should not ever be implemented which would ban the emergency abortion procedure.

    It is a very powerful ad and there's enough time to still make a difference in Indiana

  • Peter C on October 24, 2012 9:44 AM:

    Someone, please ask Romney to respond to Murdoch's idea! Someone, please ask Ryan to respond! If Murdoch gets his way, would Romney VETO the measure?

    This is not an isolated opinion; it's MAINSTREAM REPUBLICAN THINKING!

    They should be forced to own it or disavow it, clearly and publicly.

    Children are a life-long responsibility; the amount of work they take slacks off after 20 or so years, but it doesn't necessarily go away EVER! Would rape victims have NO SAY in whether they must shoulder that responsibility????

    This is vile.

  • stormskies on October 24, 2012 9:48 AM:

    For those that are going to vote for this creep they will vote anyway: Repiglican. These fellow creeps who do vote for their creep have no principles, in reality, at all. They only care about 'winning' at all costs so as to validate the fictional universe they live within, and, of course, to validate themselves.

    The same pathetic thing is happening with the millions of Americans that will vote for the creep Romney. It matters not to them at all what he actually represents: think of all that has been exposed about him even by the corporate media who are doing all they can to get him installed as the next president.

    These creeps have no actual principles despite all the moral chess pounding they snivel about. Their soul, in reality, are just as empty as the soulless Romney. And, like Romney, all's they really have in the place of where their souls used to be is nothing more than a RANCID ABSCESS.

  • c u n d gulag on October 24, 2012 9:51 AM:

    Why is it that I think that there's more than a handful of Republican politicians who would want to repeal the 19th Amenment even before they go after Obamacare.

    And forcing a woman to bear her rapists child, is cruelty beyond measure.

    Mr. Mourdock, imagine having your ass and mouth violently raped, and then having to wear a picture of your rapist around your neck in a locket for either 9 months, when you can give it away, or else have to account for it every waking or sleeping minute for at least the next 18 years, if not for the rest of your life.
    Oh, and we'll have to dock your pay, to make it comparable to the cost of having and raising a child.

    Mind you, I'm not wishing that on him, or on anybody. This is purely a thought excersize. I'm not like these @$$holes!

    These Evangilical Christians aren't human beings, they're monsters in human skin.

  • biggerbox on October 24, 2012 9:53 AM:

    Actually, Ed, these people view women as fundamentally nothing more than procreation machines even BEFORE the sperm meets the egg.

  • Diane Rodriguez on October 24, 2012 10:03 AM:

    Ryan has been muzzled for the last several weeks just so he and Lord Small Balls could run their craven game. The media has failed to persist in asking questions about any other issue - Lord SB's taxes, his magic IRA, offshore accounts....why would this be any different. Pretty sure there is a big bonus for the media hawkers should the strategy of lying, lying. lying and swearing to it have worked.

    At this point,the US monitoring of elections in other countries should be a SNL skit. The Carter Center should have turned its attention to the US.

    Should Lord SB win the White House, the Supremes will radically change this country and move it rapidly toward oligarchy.

  • Ted Frier on October 24, 2012 10:04 AM:

    The reason extremists like these have a hard time keeping their foot out of their mouth is that they really do not see why their ideas are seen as extreme by others. And that points to one of the biggest unmentioned gaps between Democrats and Republicans today -- the Empathy Gap -- which shows up in so many ways.

    We saw the full scale assault on "empathy" by white supremacists such as Senator Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions III during the Sonya Sotomayor confirmation hearings when Sessions and his klan voiced fears that a "Latina" judge putting herself into others shoes might undermine a legal order created of, by and for whites, and white males in particular.

    We also saw the appalling lack of the quality of empathy in the contemptuos remarks of Mitt Romney toward the 47% who he says are irresponsible because they are dependent on government. Romney may soon be able to talk about the 48% once his former fellows at Bain Capital get done outsourcing to China that technology plant they bought in Freeport, Illinois -- cutting jobs in a small town dependent on the plant and then forcing workers to humiliate themselves by training their Chinese replacements. Will Romney say that these workers too refuse to take responsibility for their own lives when they are collecting their unemployment checks from a government that still cares?

    Lacking empathy, these GOP extremists cannot see what is wrong with their views and so are prone to committing "gaffes" which are not mistakes at all but rather the logical consequence of their entire political psychology.

  • bigtuna on October 24, 2012 10:05 AM:

    This is just sick. God sanctions a pregnancy that results from a rape?

    What kind of god do you worship, Mr. Mourdock???

  • berttheclock on October 24, 2012 10:07 AM:

    But, does not President Romney need all of the Neanderthals, such as Murdoch and Aiken, he can get to help solve the only "important" questions confronting the electorate? Lowering gas prices and creating 12 million new jobs appear to be the only driving force with the narrowing of the polls. Those who have fallen for Romney's economic Pie in the Sky lies, could really care less about social or even foreign issues. More and more I am starting to recall the words of Adlai Stevenson, who, when told that the intellectuals were behind him, replied, "Fine, but, I need a majority".

  • Tom on October 24, 2012 10:08 AM:

    Mourdock's knotted "logic" is a natural result of his strict anti-abortion beliefs. If one believes that life begins at conception, then aborting a fetus under ANY circumstances is murder. I can't see any other way around it. However, if one accepts that abortion is acceptable under certain conditions, then one cannot hold that life begins at conception. Give Mourdock credit for being consistent in his belief even if you don't agree with him.

  • ComradeAnon on October 24, 2012 10:23 AM:

    I see Cornyn is offering support for Mourdock. These people are coming out and mentioning what they've felt all along. This is how they want to change the paradigm. If enough people say this shit enough, then it's no stretch for some to think "Hey, whats so unusual about preventing a women from having an abortion after being raped?" This is just further fuel to get more people to believe there is nothing unusual about total ban on abortion. Even for rape and incest. And we are starting to see some say even if the life of the woman is in danger. Like Akin.

  • Jack Lindahl on October 24, 2012 10:28 AM:

    For the most part, serious antichoicers try not to discuss in public their ironclad conviction that once sperm meets egg, a woman becomes nothing more than a procreation machine ...

    This is the ultimate result of letting government determine reproductive choice. China's one child policy is a perfect example. Forced abortion and forced childbirth are exactly equivalent abuses. Why isn't this an "equal protection clause" argument?

  • mellowjohn on October 24, 2012 10:34 AM:

    Stetson @ 9:40:
    "...but why wouldn't her death also be 'something that God intended to happen'?"

    well obviously so she can get pregnant again.

  • Skeptical on October 24, 2012 10:38 AM:

    I understand why people dislike Mourdock's comments, but I do not understand why this is bad theology. Seems to me that delivering "gifts" via rape or other violence is something God does every single day.

    I guess it requires a lifetime of self-justifying hair-splitting and rationalization to come up with a consistent theory about this stuff -- consistent meaning "if I like it then it is God's will and if I don't like it you insult God by saying it is his will."

  • Bokonon on October 24, 2012 10:40 AM:

    Let's not forget that the aim of the right to life movement has expanded, and it is larger than restricting abortion. The aim now includes restricting contraception.

    That is the dual goal of the "personhood" movement to amend state constitutions. And we aren't just talking a ban - we are talking criminalization.

  • Celui on October 24, 2012 10:44 AM:

    This entire article and discussion underscores the deep dangers in the present current towards an 'American Theocracy' as espoused by the GOTP. As a deeply committed Christian, I find their behaviors and their 'theology' abhorrent. Once again: Don't like abortion??? Don't have one.

  • c u n d gulag on October 24, 2012 10:46 AM:

    If their God is all-powerful, then he wouldn't need the rapist as his vehicle - right?

    There's be a lot of Virgin Mary's and Virgin Anne's and Virgin Latisha's and Virgin Jaunita's running around, pregnant as can be, without having sex - right?

    I mean, it's happened before, right?

  • CharlieM on October 24, 2012 10:50 AM:

    @ bigtuna

    An even better question is on what authority does Murdock presume to know the will of God.

  • scott_m on October 24, 2012 10:53 AM:

    mellowjohn @10:34 answers Stetson's question
    "...but why wouldn't her death also be 'something that God intended to happen'?"
    "well obviously so she can get pregnant again."

    True, that. Google "quiverfull" sometime.

  • T2 on October 24, 2012 11:04 AM:

    as Peter C says, this isn't some loony outlier candidate, these ideas are, for the most part, clearly outlined in the current Republican PLATFORM approved at their convention.
    This is the belief of their Party. The one currently tied in the presidential race.

  • Abijah L. on October 24, 2012 11:13 AM:

    Plan B (the morning after pill) does not prevent a pregnancy by causing abortion. It prevents release of an egg. Plan B only causes an abortion if you believe that life begins at insemination.

  • TZ on October 24, 2012 11:21 AM:

    Obviously if God did not want abortions there would not be any. But there are, so he must approve.

  • emjayay on October 24, 2012 11:23 AM:

    If one of these antiabortion white women were to be raped by a black man and get pregnant, and we had the total anti-abortion laws they advocate, they would be on a plane to Mexico or pay thousands to a cooperative family doctor they knew to get an abortion. Or probably even a white or any other rapist. That's how it used to work before Roe v Wade.

    And the commenters above are right. If you think every zygote is a human being, then any abortion for any reason is wrong. Exceptions don't make sense. Even if the pregnancy would kill the mother and fetus, isn't that God's will also? Can't God always provide a miracle if he wants to? Of course there are those (Christian Scientists?) who actually would agree.

  • SDJets on October 24, 2012 11:24 AM:

    Tom's got it right: Something like Mourdock's position is what one MUST take if you wish to ban abortion based on the belief that life begins at conception. If you believe that life begins at conception, then a fetus and an infant are equivalent. I would not kill an infant if it were conceived in rape, if it were conceived in an act of incest, or to save the life of the infant's mother. LIkewise, one who believes that life begins at conception ought not permit abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

    And that's the danger that anti-abortion forces face. Common sense Americans generally believe that abortion should be permissible at least in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. That means that common sense Americans do not truly take the stance that abortion should be restricted on the grounds that life begins at conception. But, anti-abortion forces need this to be the cover story, because the alternative is worse.

    The alternative is that abortions should be restricted to prevent undue sexual promiscuity. THAT is the stance that sits comfortably with the belief that abortions should be restricted except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother -- because especially in the cases of rape and incest, the sexual act was not the woman's choice. But if you restrict abortions to prevent undue sexual promiscuity, then you should restrict contraception as well. And few common sense Americans believe that.

    (There's yet another alternative, which is that common sense Americans believe life begins somewhere between conception and birth. I'm as pro-choice as pretty much anyone, and I believe that this is a reasonable point of view. But anti-abortion forces can't take this position -- it allows ad hoc abortions up to some reasonable time during pregnancy.)

    Many mainstream Americans have allowed themselves to believe they oppose abortion for life reasons when really they do not -- at least not on the terms that anti-abortion forces need them to. If Mourdock situations keep popping up, that lie may come to be revealed.

  • maggie on October 24, 2012 12:15 PM:

    Donnelly is only barely incrementally better... to the extent he would tolerate abortion if a woman was raped, but not for all the little sluts who willingly had sex. He is NOT pro-choice.

  • rea on October 24, 2012 12:18 PM:

    Can god be sued for chidl support?

  • Rick B on October 24, 2012 1:05 PM:

    "Iíve struggled with it myself for a long time" says Mourdock.

    Mourdock struggled with himself, not with his god. This is power-mad idiocy, not religion.

  • beejeez on October 24, 2012 1:17 PM:

    To female right-to-lifers who've strayed here by mistake or curiosity: Is Mourdock's view really what you want? Can one of you say she's not only resigned to give birth if she's impregnated against her will, but believes the law should enforce childbirth in all such cases? If so, can you defend this view so we skeptics can at least see where you're coming from?

  • Brian on October 24, 2012 1:22 PM:

    So, if Richard Mourdock's wife were the victim of rape, would he ask her not to press charges as it was God's will?

  • Oh my on October 24, 2012 1:40 PM:

    as Peter C says, this isn't some loony outlier candidate...-T2 11:04

    Indeed. Mitt Romney has endorsed only one Senate candidate via televised advertising this election season. That candidate was Mourdoch.

    Give Mourdock credit for being consistent in his belief even if you don't agree with him. -Tom 10:08

    Mourdock's belief system would be more credible if he felt compelled to provide "socialized" help to both the impregnated rape victim and the "gift" that comes of it. Somehow, I rather doubt he would support raising taxes for such an endeavor.

    Hospital costs for child delivery are expensive. Time lost at work, medical complications, medical bills, and time spent going to doctor's offices are all an economic burden. Emotional stress, the stigma of carrying an attacker's baby, and probably needing mental therapy exact a further toll on the victim.
    Then there's the "gift". The foster care system isn't taxpayer free. Nor, is public education. Mental therapy for the by-product of a hate crime? It just goes on and on.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see Mourdock supporting any taxes for his "belief" system. In fact, I see people of Mourdock's stripe accusing victims of faking rape in order to hit the "baby lottery".

  • Anonymous on October 24, 2012 1:49 PM:

    Bokonon said: The aim now includes restricting contraception.

    The aim was ALWAYS to overthrow Griswold v. Connecticu. For these people, the liberation for women that came with access to contraception was the "real" crime.

    These idiots live in their echo chamber where every one they hear from agrees with them, leading them to believe that everybody agrees with them.

  • RimKitty on October 24, 2012 2:47 PM:

    The only way to respond to these idiots...


  • Doug on October 24, 2012 5:04 PM:

    There are an awful lot of Republican women in Indiana, I'll venture, whose beliefs regarding abortion are NOT the same as Mourdock's...

  • Dave W on October 24, 2012 8:42 PM:

    The thing that bothers me about the "it's gods will" argument about abortion is what about going to fertility clinics. Why would gods will only apply to "extending" life? If I have to go to a doctor to get pregnant aren't I thwarting gods will that I remain childless? Perhaps that is the real objection of conservatives to Obama care, all those people staying healthy instead of dieing as god is willing.

  • jhm on October 25, 2012 8:23 AM:

    As an aside, I'll just mention that the official Roman Catholic position (which theoretically all Catholics perforce believe, on pain of their everlasting souls) is that wearing condoms during intercourse is equivalent to murder, and that the infallible Pontifex Maximus has repeatedly stated that condom use exacerbates the AIDS epidemic, in Africa, to Africans.