Rape, abortion and the new Republican Party

Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock

If anyone needed an illustration of the vast gulf that has opened between the old Republican Party and the new one — ushered in over the last quarter century — look no further than the issue of rape and abortion.

A growing number of top-tier Republican lawmakers, running for the US Senate and other high offices, no longer believe that women should be allowed to choose abortions if they become pregnant while being raped.

Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock, who hopes to represent his state in the Senate, created a firestorm when he argued during a debate that all life “is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

To be clear, Mourdock was talking about the pregnancy, the fertilized egg, as the thing God “intended” that the woman experience, and not the rape — though one can quibble with the logic of how he’s drawing the line.

What’s not fuzzy at all is the fact this is now both a mainstream position within the GOP and a radical, marginal position within American society as a whole.

Polls show that more than 80% of Americans think women should be allowed to choose an abortion if they become pregnant as a result of sexual violence.   Yet the Republican Party platform calls for all abortions to be banned without articulating an exemption for any reason.

Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has expressed distrust of exemptions, describing them as loopholes that might allow women to avoid abortion restrictions.

This view is shared even here, in New York, where Senate candidate Wendy Long confirmed in an interview this week with Karen DeWitt that she opposes legal abortion and would not support an exemption in cases of rape.

The issue also surfaced in Missouri’s Senate race, where Todd Akin argued — incorrectly — that women’s bodies have some kind of natural mechanism for preventing pregnancy in cases of rape.

There are two issues converging here for the GOP.  The first is a growing loyalty among Republicans to a band of Christian thinking, which holds that all human life is precious and that the creation of life is part of a divine thread which stretches back to Creation.

According to this logic, we live in a fallen world where ugly and painful things often occur, but our mission as Christians is to cleave to biblical principles, even when those appear to require civil laws that appear to many as shocking or even immoral.

Forcing, say, the teenage victim of a rape-incest assault to carry a fetus to term would be viewed by many Americans as morally unacceptable, but according to the hard-right social worldview, the girl’s suffering (and the life that results from her suffering) are part of God’s plan.

The other strand is a deep discomfort among conservatives with feminism, with the shifting standards of women’s empowerment and with new definitions of what constitutes rape and sexual assault.

Because of this discomfort, Republicans have become entangled with muddled and morally shifting concepts of “legitimate” or “forcible” rape, sometimes arguing that women use accusations of sexual violence as a political tool or a weapon against men.  Here’s a story told recently by state Republican lawmaker Roger Rivard in Wisconsin.

“[My father] also told me one thing, ‘If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,’ ” Rivard said. “Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.’ All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’

It goes without saying that many Republicans disagree with these views.  Presidential candidate Mitt Romney supports banning abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood, but he also wants exemptions in the case of health risks to the woman, and in cases of rape.

(Romney and Ryan withdrew their endorsement of Rivard after his comments were made public.)

But increasingly, moderate views ares the outlier in a national political movement that has continued its rightward shift on social issues.  The question always in moments like this is — Have they gone too far?

We’ll see this year whether the growing dissonance between the views of average Americans and Republican principles will cost the GOP at the ballot box.

Two US senate seats appear to be in play in large measure because of the rape-abortion issue.  That is enormous.  If Obama holds the women’s vote in key states, the furor could also help tip control of the White House.

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42 Comments on “Rape, abortion and the new Republican Party”

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  1. Kevin Leroux says:

    Related article from Alternet.org: “Why Republicans Can’t Stop Saying Horrible Things About Rape”

  2. Larry says:

    “Have they gone too far?”

    Same question that was asked during the partial birth abortion debate.

  3. wj says:

    Show me one of these unctuous hucksters (Akin, Mourdock, etc) willing to let the government dictate how, when and with whom they use their reproductive organs. Until they hand over the leash to their saucy bits, they should just shut the hell up.

    “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”
    -Florynce Kennedy

  4. Sacred says:

    So…pointing out that a life is a life, regardless of how it came to be is wrong, but jabbing a needle full of poison into the brain of a full term baby coming down the birth canal is good, wholesome and pure? Sorry, the left has no moral high ground here.

  5. Here’s what we’ve learned from the far right recently.

    Sex with someone you’re not married to is evil. Rape is no big deal.

    You can’t get pregnant from rape. If you get pregnant from rape, it’s a gift from God. (Are they comparing pregnancy via rape to the Immaculate Conception?!)

    Then again, it’s kind of like their varying positions on another issue. Climate change is a myth. And if climate change is real, it’s natural, not man-influenced. And if it’s man-influenced, it’s too late and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

    If you’re going to use an offensive, medieval argument, at least pick one and stick with it.

  6. Newt says:

    Today on Morning Edition they had an interview with a (liberal) writer who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family, and claimed she could understand, if not agree with Mourdock’s thinking. Apparently people like him somehow believe that everything is planned and determined by God (how this fits in with, say, 9/11 .. never mind, I remember. God’s punishment for NYC tolerating gays). So if a woman becomes pregnat through rape, it’s God’s will, accept it (so if she gets an abortion, that would not be God’s will? No, ’cause life is sacred. Except when we kill bad guys. Traffic accidents? Cancer in 3-year-olds? This stuff makes my head hurt).

    Anyway, this “God’s Will” business made me think of the Arabic phrase usually spelled something like, I think, , “Ins’Allah”, meaning, “As God wills it to be” It is extremely common, among Arabic speakers, and I ave seen it used an example or how that civilization has had a tendency toward passivsm and fatalism in the face of events. and thereby derailed the Middle East’s path to modernization. Our secular version might be “Whatever”.

    But it further illustrates that importance of irrational, faith-based, fact-defying, and ideological segments of both Moslem, and American (as opposed to Western, or European) societies that are so similar, important, irrational, and destructive.

    I see my time is up. Bye.

  7. Brian Mann says:

    Larry, Sacred –

    Obviously, to many people — certainly to some leaders of the Republican Party — the moral pattern you describe makes perfect sense.

    But a couple of points.

    First, opposition to requiring rape victims to carry their fetuses to term is significantly (though not overwhelmingly) higher than opposition to late-term abortion.

    Around 83% of Americans support legal abortions in cases of rape; between 60% and 70% of Americans oppose late-term or partial birth abortions. That’s a spread of nearly 20 points.

    Also, I think — this is speculative on my part — the rape-abortion issue for many Americans moves the conversation outside the usual, long-running abortion debate.

    Rape, for a lot of folks, makes it something else. It’s just different. I know many conservative Christians don’t see it that way.

    But the numbers show that even many ardent abortion opponents think there should be a rape exemption.

    Finally, I think Republicans make themselves more vulnerable on this issue when they stray into the culture war-anti-feminist territory — the rhetoric where “some girls rape so easy” and women’s bodies have ways of shutting “that whole thing down.”

    I think to many voters that doesn’t sound “pro-life”. It sounds creepy and incredibly ill-informed.

    I’m curious for the views about this aspect of the debate — particularly from pro-life posters on the In Box.

    –Brian, NCPR

  8. Snowflake says:

    Religion has no place in politics.

  9. Snowflake says:

    I take that back. Religion should have no place in politics. Not here in the US.

  10. Anita says:

    I believe that the pro-life candidates’ views that life is a gift is sincere. It seems to be so much easier to focus that belief on a tiny potential person than on the people who are already on the planet. If you want my respect for holding such a view, please marry it with the belief that everyone else also has a life that is a gift from God, and stand against capital punishment and for programs that alleviate hunger and disease. If you want my vote, also please loudly state that you are a strong supporter of our Constitution, and that governmental policy should not be dictated by religious doctrine. Joe Biden’s statement about abortion at the VP debate stands as a superb example of this kind of statesmanship.

    The problem is that all religions are grounded in a belief that they have a lock on what is true and right, and that anyone who doesn’t agree is morally wrong. Of course a strong believer is going to try to write his or her religious views into law, he/she is trying to get our society to do the right thing.

  11. progessive pilgrim says:

    The “pro-life” position may be sincere. What I don’t understand in this debate so focused on abortion – “taking the life of the unborn child” – is the wider perspective. No one asks the pro-lifers how sacred “life” is to them in other situations. Are they opposed to war, i.e., taking the life of a declared enemy on the battlefield? Would the same pro-lifers feel it is moral to take the life of someone threatening their life, or the life of their family? Or threatening their property? How about “stand your ground” situations? These are all situations where society, through its laws, has made judgments that taking the life of another is not a crime. Where do pro-lifers stand on these situations in their black-white approach to life as “sacred” and situations dictated by God?

  12. I’ve never quite understood the “pre-destination” religious theology. Even less so why it’s adherents participate in politics. If everything’s pre-destined, it doesn’t matter who you vote for.

  13. Larry says:

    Brian (NCPR),
    I remember when the debate was about when does life begin. In unceasing efforts to legitimize their positions, BOTH sides have advanced the debate into areas where opposition is increasingly difficult, and now, impossible. As the rhetoric on both sides moves closer and closer to the lunatic fringe, I think moderates should try to re-set the debate to the basics. To the Right: abortion is legal; live with it. If you can’t, work through political/legal/social channels to change that. To the Left: you can exercise your right to choice. Go ahead, but don’t expect others to pay for it or approve of it. To both sides: stick to the basics and don’t stray into areas that will make you look and sound stupid.

  14. “According to this logic, we live in a fallen world where ugly and painful things often occur, but our mission as Christians is to cleave to biblical principles, even when those appear to require civil laws that appear to many as shocking or even immoral.”

    Actually that is a cherry picked and softened approach to “God’s Law”. The passages they quote are lifted out of sections that describe God’s rules and punishments. Many of these rules are strange and the punishments extreme, for example the following partial list of sins requiring punishment by death as dictated by God in the Old Testament

    • “Taking a wife and her mother – Leviticus 20:14 – Death by burning, all parties involved. (Note: It was okay with God for you to have multiple wives and or concubines. You just couldn’t have both a mother and her daughter among them.)
    • Homosexual sex/incest (including in-laws)/bestiality – Leviticus 20:11-16 – God doesn’t specify how to kill them but insists that all involved be killed.
    • An unmarried woman who has sex should be stoned. – Deuteronomy 22:21 – (Note: If it was rape and the rapist buys her from her father she escapes death by stoning but becomes a wife to the rapist. Whether she wants to marry the rapist is irrelevant. Women are property and have no say in the matter.)
    • Anyone who curses or blasphemes is to be stoned to death – Leviticus 24:14-16
    • Anyone who refuses to obey a judge or priest is to be killed – Deuteronomy 17:12 (Note: all this killing is a community activity commanded by God so any individual display of compassion for the transgressor or refusal to participate in killing them is also worthy of death)
    • Anyone sacrificing an animal that is blemished in any way – Deuteronomy 17:1 (God wants only perfect animals killed and burnt to honor him)
    • Anyone who fails to seek “the Lord of Isreal” 2 Chronicles 15:13
    • Anyone who works or kindles a fire in their home on the sabbath – Exodus 35:2-3
    • Any city that worships other gods is to have all its inhabitants killed including the livestock and the city is to be burnt, never to be inhabited again Deuteronomy 13:12-16

    There is a lot more. Don’t believe me? Try actually reading the Bible, not just the “selections” used in sermons. As long as people are willing to believe that the Bible was written by God through inspired humans to express his will for humanity we will be subjected to such nonsense.

  15. Newt says:

    Excellent comment, Mr. Bullard.
    Now to get the old knife nice and sharp, and git reddy to so some killin of SINNERS!

  16. Like any other decision in life having an abortion (for any reason) involves consequences. On the negative side you may regret it or on the positive side you may avoid significant psychological and/or economic problems by doing so. The reverse is true if one decides not to. IMO No one who will not be active in dealing the consequences has any right, none whatsoever, to make that decision. Thus it is up to the woman in consultation with her physician. The question of whether a fetus is a person with constitutional rights was settled in Roe vs Wade. Efforts to enforce a religious/moral restriction are contrary to the Constitution because they intrude on the religious freedom of those who do not accept that religious position.

  17. Newt, Stoning or burning was the preferred method. No knives.

  18. Mervel says:

    Well I think the thought process happens when you talk to your own world all of the time and not to others who disagree and really listen to that broader public view and the view of those who disagree and really have no understand of your point of view.

    For me I don’t believe that abortion is ever morally OK, even in the case that the baby was conceived through sexual violence-rape. That does not mean I condone rape or don’t understand exactly what rape is and the horror of that sort of violence.

    Why would I believe that, it sounds so cruel? The reason I do is that I believe a unique human life is created at conception and how we treat human life in general is very important, so for me it wouldn’t be OK to kill that human life even if it was brought about through the horror of rape. This is a tough position to accept for the majority of Americans (as Brian points out from the polls), particularly if you don’t believe a human life does start at conception. I understand that and certainly don’t have a problem with those who logically disagree with me on this point.

    What we have now are these cases where these guys who spend a lot of time talking to other pro-life people in the pro-life movement, then talk to the public after living in this little bubble, and they sound crazy.

    They need to get out more and need to listen more.

  19. Jeff says:

    Can we celebrate? There is a person willing to hold a position despite redicule. Better a candidate says what she/he believes than mask it. Those candidates are certainly speaking out with a gun to their heads. When not in agreement, pull the lever for another candidate.

    I sense an incredulity that the candidates are still viable.

  20. Mervel says:

    James that simply is not true. Yes read the bible, the whole bible including the Gospel which Christians believe is the center of the bible. The Old Testament is certainly important and teaches us lessons, but according to Christ and according to the Apostles, it is not how Christians living under the New Covenent are meant to live. So cherry picking old testament punishments from Leviticul Law is no better than cherry picking other parts of the bible. Theology is looking at the entire inspired scripture.

  21. Pete Klein says:

    The “God’s will” argument has limitless problems.
    To name but one. If God is all powerful, no one can ever go against God’s will and everything becomes God’s will.
    If it is possible to go against God’s will, then God is not all powerful and may in fact not even be God.
    You have heard the idea of American exceptionalism. But what we have here is the problem of human exceptionalism. It is the presumption that all of creation, the entire Universe, is only about humans. It is the belief that the entire Universe was created by God for the sole purpose to determine which humans would be forever happy in Heaven and which would be tortured forever in Hell.
    Very weird!

  22. Mervel says:

    What they are talking about is something called Divine Providence, however it is a theological concept and is not relevant or even understandable in a secular discussion. So again they end up sounding crazy or worse outside of the context of a Spiritual discussion. Like I said they need to get out more or need to leave politics.

  23. jeff says:

    Mervel, you say they may need to get out more or leave politics. Perhaps they are not the ones who need to get out. Who is interolerant here? We are supposed to be tolerant. This is diversity. It is big tent. I guess not not.

    Every election is about every citizen voting to get their ideas included in government. It is the averaging of our collective preferences secular and theological. Sometimes our ideas get named in the public discourse. Candidates may embody a collection of ideas.

    To say the “odd folks” need to leave politics is to attempt to take away freedoms, or it is might makes right.

  24. Mervel, The key phrase in your response to me is “I believe” and that’s fine. The essence of religion is that the believer accepts certain maxims as true and bases his/her life choices on that belief. At the same time our Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to choose for him or herself what religion to believe in or to choose not to believe in any religion.

    The sticky part comes when those who “believe” that life starts at conception want to make laws that enforce that on everyone, even those who don’t share that belief. It is further complicated by what we mean by “life”. In the broadest sense of the word, an organism that exhibits the most basic signs of life, your belief is undoubtedly correct however, so do all other animals, insects, insects, fish and plants. Obviously therefore you are not simply believing life in the broad sense but rather in the religious sense of a human soul inhabiting the fetus from the moment of conception. The problems there are that one cannot prove the existence of a soul. Atheists generally don’t believe in the soul. Even if one accepts that there is a soul, the argument over when it enters the body has gone on for centuries and there is no way to prove one position over another. B. F. Skinner believed we are born as blank slates which could imply that we are simply animals. Other research suggests that babies have some innate moral sense which could imply a soul but neither “proves” there is or isn’t a soul. It is a matter of belief and I repeat, under our Constitution such belief is a matter of individual choice.

    Roe vs Wade (rightly IMO) said that a fetus that was incapable of life outside the womb was not a person/citizen with Constitutional rights. You may disagree and you are free to avoid getting an abortion based on your belief however the Constitution guarantees religious freedom to all citizens including those you don’t agree with. FWIW I’m not a fan of abortion but I think, or rather I “believe” the decision needs to be made on a case by case basis by those will deal with the physical and psychological consequences, not a bunch of politicians with no knowledge of the circumstances.

  25. I forgot to address Mervel’s objection to my “cherry picking” the Old Testament. I would remind him that is exactly what those who condemn gays are doing, indeed they use the very same portion of the OT that I quoted. If they do indeed to believe that passage is “God’s Law” then they are obliged not only to condemn them verbally, but to kill all homosexuals and by failing to do so, subject themselves to being stoned by the community. If you can’t see the absurdity of that argument against homosexuality… What can I say?

    You have to realize that the Bible was written by leaders of a theocracy with very political agendas. They needed to strike fear into anyone who dared question their authority and did so by imposing harsh rules that they handed down as “The Word of GOD”. That sounds a lot like what religious fundamentalism is doing in our world today whether yo are talking about the Christian right or the Taliban. It is the same strategy. In the end the goal of religion is to guide the life of the believer not to rule over others.

  26. Will Doolittle says:

    Others, such as the fathers and the grandparents, are often “active in dealing with the consequences” of a pregnancy and of an abortion. Certainly, these folks are often much more active in dealing with the consequences of either choice than the mother’s physician is. Sometimes, a grandmother, for example, is more active in dealing with the consequences, in instances when she takes over care of the baby, than the mother is. Unrelated people, such as adoptive parents, can also be actively involved “in the consequences.” It’s simplistic, and false, to say no one is affected by the birth or the abortion of a child, or deals with the consequences, besides the mother.

  27. Mervel says:

    James certainly there are those who claim these passages all the way around and misuse them.

    I disagree with almost all of your statement, except for the last sentence, which actually is scriptural.

    Christ, His apostles,other writers of the New Testament never call on believers to rule over the world, in fact power itself is to be avoided, pride is to be avoided, seeking and desiring of wealth is a trap and a snare and so forth.

    Christians have followed this over the centuries very unevenly; when we are true to our faith things turn out better for us and for the world and we have seen this; when we desire the same things that the world finds valuable is when we get in a lot of trouble.

  28. Mervel says:

    Where we must stand up politically is not to run things, but to stand up for the poor, the vulnerable, the voiceless, that is what Christian charity is about, that is what Christian advocacy for the poor is about what our opposition to war and torture is about and yes that is what standing up for the unborn or the dying or the old is about. I know you would certainly say that we are forcing our beliefs on others, while we would say that we are trying to be advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves

  29. ” I know you would certainly say that we are forcing our beliefs on others, while we would say that we are trying to be advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves”

    Which brings us back to your “belief” that a newly conceived fetus is a person with a soul and not just a ball of cells, a belief on which there is no consensus and cannot be demonstrated

  30. Will, Your reply reminds me of the trick question about a plane crash on the state line, ‘In which state do they bury the survivors?’. We are talking about not allowing a woman who wants, perhaps needs, an abortion with the concurrence of her physician. If she has the abortion no grandparent or adoptive parent can possibly be involved in caring for the child she chooses not to have.

  31. mervel says:

    I think James that it is far more than a “belief” that an unborn child is a human being, we can argue about when a human being should have rights or not have rights and that is an argument and that is about beliefs, not whether or not a fetus is unique human life form no different from an infant or a toddler etc, which is simply a biological fact. But all political arguments are essentially about beliefs, beliefs are legitimate topics for political decisions.

    For example in abortion a particular set of beliefs about when a human life form deserves protection are forced on all individuals and states through RvW, which is legitimate it is how we govern, but that can be changed through the political process.

  32. mervel says:

    “Roe vs Wade (rightly IMO) said that a fetus that was incapable of life outside the womb was not a person/citizen with Constitutional rights.”

    But what is going to happen as the age of viability is continually pushed back as it has been every decade for the past several decades?

    Anyway it really is an interesting debate and I think worthy of discussion but for whatever reason it is a debate that usually turns toxic.

  33. Pete Klein says:

    Concerning Jesus, there is nothing in the Gospels that would suggest Jesus wanted to institute any secular law to enforce any of his religious beliefs.
    Wasn’t Jesus’ number one problem his unwillingness to be a Zionist? He refused to fight Roman law. He didn’t even bother to protest Roman law.
    So how can anyone who claims to be a Christian be someone who wants to enforce their beliefs through the brute power of secular law?

  34. Sacred says:

    Brian, some people seem to have an uncanny ability to put things in words that are seemingly…well, stupid. Our VP for instance is a master at this as was Bush and apparently Mr Mourdock has this gift too. I think any sane person listening to his words would realize that he was speaking to the life created, not the act of rape which is a vile and horrid act. Of course then the anti-life, pro-choice is so bland and inaccurate, let’s be honest, crowd has kittens because someone actually suggested that all life has value. Oh, the shame! It’s not all black and white people. I can understand why a woman might not want to bear the child of a rape. It’s understandable and to that extent, I can see why it might be legal. The problem is that most abortions aren’t from rape, or incest or for medical reasons. Most abortions are for convenience and are performed because someone didn’t use birth control. In this day and age, with the low cost of birth contro, there is no excuse for anyone getting pregnant outside of rape. Both he and she can use birth control. It’s cheap or free. High school kids have access for goodness sakes! The argument that abortion is needed to because sophisticated, modern, educated, intelligent American women just can’t control themselves and have to take on any offer of sex is insulting and stupid!

    We don’t need and end to abortion anywhere near as much as we need an end to stupid, pathetic women that can’t take a pill, make Rico Suave use a condom or use some other form of birth control. If women would take responsibility for their actions abortion wouldn’t even be a subject of national importance. And it wouldn’t hurt one bit for all the he-men out there to learn to do their part too.

  35. Mervel, Viability through extreme medical intervention is not the same thing as viability under normal birth. Surely you are aware that there are religions, including Christian ones, who don’t believe in medical intervention even for those already born and with standing as citizens. Are you arguing that your religion should take precedence over theirs?

    Pete. Exactly! Nor does he suggest forcing his teaching on anyone through other means. Rather he said that if the people of a town do not accept the teaching to shake the dust of that town from your feet and go to another town.

    This is absolutely a topic for debate but it should be a religious/moral debate, not a political one.

  36. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Is “the moment of conception” a biological moment, a real time moment; or is it a spiritual moment? Is the moment of conception pre-ordained? A moment pre-determined by God may be at the instant of Creation? Can children be conceived after the Rapture? If so, will they have souls and are they pre-determined to burn in hell?

    And what about Souls? Is the moment of conception the instant an egg and sperm unite or when the fertilized egg first divides, or is it when the Soul comes in and inhabits the growing fetus? Isn’t it possible, or probable, that the Soul inhabits the fetus at some moment after conception?

    Perhaps the soul does not inhabit the body in an instant. Perhaps the soul takes a lifetime to inhabit the body and is only fully realized at the moment of death. Perhaps there is no soul at all until the moment of birth or the babies first breath.

  37. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Why does my dog not have a soul? My dog has lots of personality. He knows his name and can predict my behavior. He dreams. He remembers the past. He works and he plays. He has the spark of life; and in greater measure than some humans. Which theologian will tell me my dog has no soul? Name him and I will name for you a theologian without wisdom.

  38. Walker says:

    And for that matter, does a human embryo have a soul in the earliest stages when it is indistinguishable from the embryos of other species?

  39. Larry says:

    I guess some people just could not take my advice and avoid areas that make them look and sound stupid. All the talmudic argument detracts from the core issues: abortion is legal and based on personal choice. No one should care why or how come; in fact, Roe v. Wade isn’t even particularly good law and really doesn’t even make common sense. No amount of science, religion or persuasion will change minds on either side. If you for it, work to keep it. If you are against it, work to change it.

  40. Walker says:

    Yeah, Larry, it’s terrible, but a lot of us are too stupid to take your advice all the time.

    Maybe we should all just sit back and let you do all the talking.

  41. mervel says:

    Well I think abortion touches on these deeper issues. For me I think the argument does not have to depend on human’s having a soul or spiritual beliefs at all. I think it is a broader issue dealing with how we treat human life and ALL life in general and how we are going to treat life as that definition itself becomes more complex. I think Brian had a blog earlier about advances in AI and the possible melding of biological functions with advanced computing. At what point does that become “life” and deserving of compassion and dignity? If we can dispose of unborn human life without any review at all except that we want to do it, then what does that say about how we will treat future life forms? Would it be ok for example to create AI robots to be our slaves? The questions go on and are quite fascinating.

  42. Marlo says:

    I always thought the rape/incest exemption made no sense, if you really believe life begins at conception and thus abortion is wrong. If a month-old fetus is a full-fledged human life, then why should the circumstances of its conception matter?

    I don’t agree with this line of thinking at all, but I’m glad that more Republicans are being morally consistent, at least. It’s worrisome that they might get elected and have the power to implement such a philosophy, but at least I can respect their beliefs a bit more because they stick to them.

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