Friday, October 26, 2012

Rape, Abortion and God

It is election time in the United States and discussions about abortion and rape (and legitimate rape) are doing the rounds.

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock has been in the limelight for saying this.
"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."
Mention rape and "gift from God" and news media is going ballistic. But the fact of the matter is, Mourdock did not call rape a gift from God. He called a baby, a new life, a gift from God. He just screwed up in how he stated it.

Fact of the matter is, the 2012 Republican platform states this as well.
"...we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which can not be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life."
No exception for rape, incest find a mention!

This is the position of vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's as well.

This is in fact, what the Catholic Church teaches. Except in cases where the mother's life is in danger, abortion is killing an innocent human life. A Sin! Actually, the catholic teaching is not even that 'liberal'. The teaching is more theologically nuanced.

If the pregnant mother needs a surgery to save her life and the surgery as a side effect involves taking the life of the baby, it is an indirect abortion. It is permitted. If the mother has a tumour on the uterus, then if removing that results in abortion, then it is cool. You have the Pope's blessings.

Now, say a pregnant mother has pulmonary hypertension and cannot bring the baby to term without endangering her own life. If the 'cure' is to abort the baby, it is a direct abortion and not permitted. Tough luck, says the Pope. Sister Margaret Mary McBride found herself excommunicated for making a decision that saved the life of a pregnant mother.

If the decision to save a pregnant mother's life is complicated, pregnancy from rape and incest are no-brainers. They are never permitted!

So, the Pope's stand is essentially the same as Mourdock's if not more to the right.

Many evangelical Christians and Mormons have similar beliefs but probably less nuanced.

The problem actually comes down to the problem of evil. When we declare that the almighty God is loving and caring, we have trouble explaining evil. Including rape. A popular technique is to credit God with all that is good. All that is evil/bad is Satan's work, God testing you, a side effect of free will; take your pick!

Now, a baby is obviously a blessing and it is obviously from God. A little twisted thought and you start equating a "blastocyst" to a human baby. And you get to Mourdock's position!

Holy crap on a cracker!

Disclaimer: I am an ex-catholic and pro-choice (no nuance).