Politicked Off: Rape, Life, and God
I'm Pro-Choice but, I have to be honest, it pains me to see Republicans stumble over their words when it comes to the tough question about the abortion exception in the case of rape. Part of me wants to believe that most Republicans have figured out how to answer this question that they KNOW they'll be asked but time and time again, we see candidates putting their feet in their mouths and they (and some of their supporters) then dig a deeper hole by screwing up their response.
And don't get me wrong, there is an unfair amount of word-twisting by the Left in some of these cases. Unlike Todd Akin, who was just spouting some nonsense, Richard Mourdock seemed to truly weigh the issue as he came to his decision to reject rape as an exception (leaving the only exception for him being if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.) Mourdock's comment was terribly phrased but it really takes a partisan spin to turn his words into saying that rape is a Gift from God (as some on the liberal side have spun it.) Yes, grammatically, the argument can be made that that's what his words said but I think most everyone could understand that that was not his intention.
However, in the political silly season, you have to expect this kind of wordplay and you have to be prepared. I'm not saying you have to test group every statement but at least get the basic sentence structure down so you're not saying "that it is something that God intended to happen” directly after the words "that horrible situation of rape."
To me, the Republican response is simple.
Conceiving a child is a gift from God and we must protect this gift by acknowledging that life begins at conception. Nobody believes that a child should pay for the sins of his or her father yet that is the judgement that we would be passing on these innocent unborn children. The unholy act of rape does not make the baby itself any less a child of God. I fully understand that carrying the child to term could be difficult and painful for the mother but responding to a rape by committing murder isn't the answer.
This statement (which I'm sure many conservatives have argued but have been ignored in favor of the more controversial statements/slip-ups) will bring the discussion back to the central question: when does life begin? And that is the question that I believe the Right will win with most people. To bring up a horrible hypothetical, if someone punched a five month pregnant woman in the stomach and caused a miscarriage, wouldn't that be murder? How many mothers would shrug it off and say, "Well, I was only five months pregnant so it wasn't viable. It wasn't REALLY a baby."
The immediate Pro-Choice response to that is that the decision should be up to the woman; it's her body and, in the above hypothetical, that decision on whether to continue with the pregnancy was violently stripped from her. But, even then, I think it leaves the Right on solid footing since they can make the assertion that "A woman can choose what to do with her body before there's another soul inside of it. She doesn't have the right to decide if and when that baby is considered to be a life once that life exists." Which brings us back to the question of When does the life truly exist? It's a question that I often struggle with as I believe both sides make compelling arguments in their favor.
But what depresses me the most about all of this wordplay and debate is that it eventually ends up amounting to nothing more than a lot of time, effort, and money spent on fighting a policy rather than helping those mothers who do go through with their pregnancy. I would love it if, regardless of who won, the two Presidential candidates stood together after the election and stated that they would like everyone in their parties and all of their supporters and, ideally, every American to step away from the fight about abortion, even for just one year, and move towards helping the children that are here on Earth. Instead of asking for donations to PACs or political influence peddlers, they should promote donations to or volunteer work with actual family care advocates/assistance or even directly helping a family out.
Sadly, I know that will never happen because once this election is over, all eyes will be on the midterm election of 2014. I just wish, for once, politicians would bring us together to support something we can agree upon rather than dividing us with what we disagree about so they can get more money/influence.
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