WORD condemns Richard Mourdock’s attack on victims of rape

"I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

From Todd Akin and the ridiculous assertion that “legitimate rape” cannot result in pregnancy to Joe Walsh, who “can’t name one instance” in which a woman might die as the result of pregnancy, ignorant statements on women’s rights have become all too common in mainstream politics in the United States.

When asked about his position on abortion in cases of rape or incest at a recent debate, Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana said, "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Forcing a woman who has already experienced the trauma of sexual violence to have a child as the result of rape – at a time when most women in the United States have no paid maternity leave and cannot afford childcare, while politicians are cutting social services and even the nutrition programs many mothers and children depend on – is an outrage.

For a man who can never be pregnant to suggest that women should be forced to bear and raise a child as the result of rape is abhorrent and absurd. There is no circumstance under which it is acceptable to attack and violate another person’s body, and no religious justification for such crimes. Men like Mourdock, who make ignorant and baseless attacks on women to win votes, are not fit to serve in public office.

When a person attempts to deprive others of their rights, it is more than a difference of opinion. Statements like Mourdock’s reinforce the false idea that women are not human beings entitled to equal rights and respect, but rather empty vessels to be filled. At a time when one in four women will experience sexual violence, these remarks reveal a profound ignorance as well as a deep lack of empathy. To cloak such an attack in the guise of religious faith is even more appalling.

Even Mourdock’s  bogus “apology” reveals a passion for blaming the victim. He did not apologize for his words or ideas, but blamed others for misinterpreting those remarks.  Casting himself as the victim, he blamed those who “mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand the points [he] was trying to make.”

Furthermore, Mourdock believes that attacking women has helped his campaign. When asked whether he thought he’d gained votes as a result of what he said, Mourdock declared “I know I did.”

Both Democrats and Republicans have rushed to capitalize on this latest attack on women. With Obama’s lead among women vanishing, Democrats are rushing to present themselves as the defenders of women’s rights, although their records show otherwise. Even though Mourdock’s statement has been widely condemned, he still enjoys the endorsement of Mitt Romney as well as John McCain and other prominent Republicans.

This kind of violent anti-woman rhetoric has no place in the electoral process. To make such statements about women in the context of a debate reveals a fundamental disregard for women and women’s rights. Sexists who are unable to consider the needs of more than half their constituents are not fit to serve.

Our bodies and our lives are too valuable to be used as political props for either party. Millions of women in the United States survive sexual assault, and they do not deserve to be attacked just so Mourdock can win a few votes from his fellow misogynists.

Too many male politicians believe their opinions about reproduction are valuable simply because they are the opinions of men who hold office. The men behind these attacks on women have no regard for science and established medical knowledge. They have even less regard for the lives and rights of women.

Such politicians are not qualified to make decisions that affect women’s lives and health.  Attacking and dehumanizing more than half of the population in an attempt to win votes is unacceptable behavior.

WORD condemns Richard Mourdock’s vile attack on victims of rape and incest and denounces all attempts to deprive women of equal rights.

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