So, now rape is a gift from God.
Understand, I don’t think that, but a man who wants to pick the next U.S. Supreme Court justice does, which is why all of us should care what’s happening in Indiana.
Last week, during a debate, Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, had this to say about abortion in the case of rape:
“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.”
This sounds eerily familiar, and I’m not referring to Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s theory of magic sperm zappers.
Wait. It’s all coming back to me: March 2011. Ohio.
The Ohio House of Representatives was holding hearings for the so-called heartbeat bill, which is so extreme that even Ohio Right to Life does not support it.
First, two pregnant women bared their bellies so that their fetuses could “testify” via ultrasound. When no heartbeat could be found on a 9-week-old fetus, the woman conducting the ultrasounds jokingly lamented that she couldn’t use a vaginal probe. Men on the committee chuckled.
But I digress.
After the ultrasound extravaganza, anti-choice lawyer Walter M. Weber took center ring. Stood before the committee, I mean. Weber proceeded to assure the packed hearing room that in the case of pregnancy from rape, some women — the right kind of women, you understand — view carrying the child to be a “triumph” over their rapists.
You could hear women’s gasps. A number of them wiped away tears. en
Th Weber went on to explain that if Romeo had known that Juliet’s heart still was beating, Romeo would not have killed himself. I wanted to stand up, raise my hand and say: “Show of hands, please. How many of you on the committee know that Romeo isn’t a real person? How many of you know he is talking about Shakespeare?” I didn’t, because I was afraid of the answer.
I drove home that day convinced that Ohio’s government had been overtaken by a band of loonies. Now it appears that one of their own is in a tight race for the U.S. Senate in neighboring Indiana.
The day after the debate, Mourdock held a news conference to apologize to those of us who “misinterpreted” his remarks. Because, you know, this whole thing is really our fault.
Mourdock said, according to Roll Call, “If, because of the lack of clarity in my words, they came away with the impression other than those I said a moment ago — that life is precious, that I abhor violence, and God abhors violence and rape … I truly regret it.”
Mourdock went on to assure everyone he is a “more humble person this morning because so many people mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the point” that he was trying to make. Again, it’s our fault.
When reporters pressed him for details, he said: “I spoke from my heart. For speaking from my heart, for speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I cannot apologize.”
So, he’s not really apologizing for anything — except maybe our misinterpretation of his clear statement that the “horrible situation of rape” is “something that God intended to happen.”
Democrats in Indiana are lunging, of course, heralding Mourdock’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, as the moderate in this race. However, Donnelly is also anti-choice. Those of us who trust women to make their own decisions about health care are supposed to get excited that at least Donnelly supports exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the woman, whereas Mourdock supports an exception only if the woman’s life is in danger.
The Obama campaign is trying to un-pretzel Mitt Romney just long enough to wrap him around Mourdock. Romney has his own problems with abortion, of course. He was pro-choice until he wasn’t, and his party’s position on abortion is more extreme than his. A Romney spokeswoman said he doesn’t agree with Mourdock but still supports his candidacy for Senate, which means he’s just fine with having this extremist voting for the next Supreme Court justice.
Are you following all this?
My prediction: We’re about to see another uptick in the gender gap that will determine who wins the White House.
It was so much easier — wasn’t it? — when we dames couldn’t vote.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and an essayist for Parade magazine.