Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Trifecta of Wrong...

So abortion as a campaign issue is back in the news, with the debate comments of Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock lighting up the boards of the Democratic attack and Republican damage control machines.

Much has been written and broadcast since then, and it amazes me how so many people you would otherwise consider sensible find ways to do mental gymnastics and justify supporting Mourdock his allies over this.

Time to cut to the chase.  There is a lot of wrong in what's going on - three distinct levels of wrong - a trifecta of wrong, in fact.

It's wrong for politicians to base policies that impact the entire public on their personal interpretation of a religion.  Faith informs values, and values inform policies, but the public is a diverse body representing many faiths and perspectives.  There's a disturbing number of politicians and political aspirants who see the privilege of holding office as a platform to serve their faith first, and the constituents second.  When you hear candidates talk about "returning to our roots as a Christian nation", or policy needing to be "grounded in Biblical values", watch out.  These are people who see their own personal future in the afterlife being at stake if they don't use their position to advance the faith.  If it's a choice between their eternal fate or the interests & priorities of anyone else, it's not even a contest.  Even worse, too many of these people are horribly misinformed about biology, and in their religious zeal they have no motivation to learn about facts that may conflict with their faith-based certainty.

It's wrong for people to frame the idea of being "pro life" in terms of a fertilized egg having full Constitutional rights.  A girl or woman has rights, too, but in the views of Richard Mourdock or Paul Ryan, they lose some fundamental rights when they become pregnant.  Basically, they lose the right to control their own bodies, becoming little more than an incubator until the developing fetus can survive on its own.  You can't authentically be "pro life" when your position makes the health and well-being of some people less important than others.  In the case of rape victims, no one but the victim can truly understand what her experience is like.  Taking away her right to choose what happens with her body isn't treating a zygote like a person, it's taking a victim and then making her even more of one by declaring her less than a person.  The pro-life crowd doesn't concern itself with making sure the woman has adequate mental and physical health care - that's all on her.  If the pregnancy doesn't result in a healthy birth, then the woman is under a cloud of suspicion for potentially doing something deliberate to cause that.  You're just an incubator existing for the sake of someone else for 9 months, and once that child is born, truly alive by even a pro-choice view, then the final irony is that the pro-life crowd doesn't concern itself with what happens to that life.

The third great wrong is the ease with which politicians barter away the rights of women for political expediency.  "His comments were wrong, but he sincerely apologized so we can still support him".


Akin, Mourdock and the others like them were caught expressing what they truly believe, forgetting to apply the filter of political correctness first.  I believe Mourdock is sincere when he says that rape is a horrible crime and that it is the life expressed as a pregnancy that is a gift from God.  None of that changes the fact that his policy would be to deny rape victims the choice of control over their bodies once they are pregnant - the rapist has more control over his body for the next nine months than the victim has over hers.

Then you have Mitt Romney distancing himself from the comments, but refusing to withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock or even ask that the Mourdock ads featuring that endorsement be pulled.  That's because at this point they don't want to forfeit a potential GOP senate seat, and would rather have him and his reprehensible views than work with a pro-life Democrat instead.  This is selling out women to be less than full citizens for political advantage, and they're hoping to just survive until election day without things getting worse.

Three different levels of wrong, and a fourth, really, when you consider that the first three aren't enough to make more women stop voting for the GOP this year.

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