Rape-Caused Pregnancy–That’s the Way God Planned It!

At a candidates’ debate last night, U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana expressed his belief that life begins at conception and that the only case in which he’d approve of a pregnant woman having an abortion was if her life was in danger. Then he added this:

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

Welcome to the 24-hour news cycle, Mr. Mourdock. Not surprisingly, your comments have caused outrage.

Here’s what Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal had to say:

Does Mourdock mean that God intended for that rape to happen, and for it to result in a pregnancy? Is the next step not to prosecute the rapist–and to force [the rape victim] to marry the rapist? This is not so far-fetched and is happening in Afghanistan and Morocco. Such religious extremism threatens women’s lives–in fact, threatens all of our lives, and religious freedom itself.

Mourdock tried to walk back his quote today with the old “I regret the misinterpretation” excuse:

If there was any interpretation other than what I intended, I really regret that. Anyone who goes to the videotape and views that understands fully what I meant.

See for yourselves:

Sounds like he’s saying that every pregnancy is planned by God, even if the woman had no say in the matter at all. Even if she was violated and abused. As Smeal pointed out, it’s a slippery slope from that religious-based viewpoint to what goes on in countries with religious extremism as their de facto legal system.

The Twittersphere has been quick to jump on the religiosity of Mourdock’s statement:

@Human Choices: Apparently, Richard #Mourdock wants rapists to get to pick the mother(s) of their children. How very Christian of him. Not.

@sensitive_b: “Apparently the 1950s aren’t far back enough, they now want to take us all the way back to the Calvinist idea of predestination?”

And @lwdgrfx started a new hashtag: “#GiftsFromGod: health, love, friends, rapists’ babies”

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney “disagreed” with Mourdock’s comments, but continues to endorse the candidate and has run an ad in his favor. You can ask Romney to pull that ad here.

As Smeal concluded, “Religious extremism has no place in public decision-making that can cost women their lives and freedom.”

Photo of Richard Mourdock via Wikimedia Commons


  1. I’m glad I don’t live in the USA. We often manage to weed out the religeous fundamentalists BEFORE the elections in th UK. Blair was an aberration.

  2. I don’t want Romney to pull that ad. Leave it out there, for everyone to see how he really feels about women’s issues instead of pressuring him to hide it, only to uncover it again if (goddess forbid) he makes it to the White House.

    • Marilyn Hayes says:

      This was an incredibly dangerous statement for a public figure to make. That I don’t agree with him is one thing but there is an ethical issue on top of that. People interpret things said by public figures literally. He is clearly not responsible for the impact of is words and should NOT be in the public eye. He has caused incredible damage to women. I do not notice that he is offering assistance to the suffering woman & child. After all that would be “government intervention in their lives” as if forcing her to give birthe to a child conceived in the violence of rape is not “government intervention” in her life.

  3. I say this I myself have a child that was born from the result of rape though I feel the same way im glad it was my choice to make I carry a view others don’t and if you would resent your child then the only option would be to abort nothing wrong with that choice my choice to keep my son didn’t come without consequences I am denied his “donor rapist fathers” medical history which made it hard to get some answers about his behavior issues. That’s my main issue but to be honestly my son is a blessing he saved my life how by giving me a reason to go on something to look forward to in life he’s my first born and is eight years old now and I can’t imagine my life without him. But that is me everyone is different and no one should be forced to do what they can’t do emotionally it was a roller coaster of emotions and mixed feelings until I held him in my arms that was the first time my family ever saw a real smile upon my face.

  4. Barbara Mor says:

    All these rightwing reactions to the crime of rape reveal something deep & crucial
    about the fundamentalist mind that we need to take seriously. Mourdock & others believe that ‘human life’ comes not from evolutionary biology but from their idea of
    ‘God’; abortion, contraception, reproductive rights in general then give the female
    sex the power to overturn ‘God’s will’ — & this cannot be allowed in their theocratic universe. Therefore, they don’t/won’t stop at criminalizing abortion; all
    control of the female sex over our own bodies will be read, as it was read throughout centuries of religious rule in Europe, & is read now in countries governed by this theology, as female disobedience of God’s Plan for Man (in which Woman serves merely/only as a reproductive vessel). Extend this worldview to the other issues confronting us: Evolution vs. Creation, Human-Caused Climate Change vs.
    Climate Change Denial, Global Environmental Issues in general … in every case, these people are consistent: they do not believe biological life is REAL. Only their idea of God, their Divine Plan or Scenario is real, & human reality, terrestrial reality, must be subordinated to their particular Idea. I.e., they are insane. Study history & you can see how much damage this kind of religious psychosis can inflict on your life. This struggle hasn’t just suddenly appeared with the Republican rightwing, the TeaParty, or the empowerment of the Fundamentalist South…it’s been
    with us for generations, the 1st Wave Feminists at their most radical (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage) fought against it in their speeches & writings, & some 2nd Wave Feminists took it seriously also (Mary Daly foremost among them). This struggle of Women against ‘God’s Plan for Man’ disappeared from the Feminist Agenda & Women’s Studies Departments generally in the 80s, & a whole generation of young women deserves a brushup course in what earlier feminists experienced as the problem: male use of ‘God’ as a means of controlling the female reproductive process to establish & maintain Male Control of Human Society. Time to get back to basics.
    Nothing is more basic to your life than your biologic existence: does it belong to you, or to the Law of Men (under ‘God’). I put ‘God’ in quotes simply because there are so many ideas of deity in human history, thru all time & throughout all places on earth. American women must refuse to be imprisoned inside just one small petty but historically powerful ‘divine’ scenario.

  5. ‘Rapists’ babies’ is patriarchal language. Since when did women become ’empty vessels waiting to be filled with a man’s child?’ Correct terminology is male rapist forcibly impregnates female victim.’ Note the difference – men do not create children all on their own despite many men claiming they do.

    Women do not have ‘men’s children’ and neither are women ‘mother of man’s child child.’ Men father a child – note the difference. Oh but I forget women’s ownership of their bodies is a non-issue because men continue to own, police and control women’s bodies. That is what Richard Mourdock is claiming and as he knows, men have been claiming this for centuries.

    Men are autonomous human beings but women are men’s sexual property.

  6. If you’re outraged by Mourdock’s comments, please start paying attention. He is only echoing the Republican Party platform. There is nothing new in his statements or in his beliefs. In fact, Mourdock, unlike most “pro-life” candidates, supports exceptions to protect the health of the woman. If anything, he is more moderate than his party. I’m outraged as well, but this is nothing new.

  7. One of them thar instances when I actually have to pay attention to what men say about pregnancy and abortion, becasue they are in a position to vote on it. I am sure he meant not the rape itself as “God Induced”. But honestly, if he believes “GOD” creates all life and everything in life only happens from “GOD’s will” then it would follow (eventually) that he believes GOD intended the rape to happen ultimately, and pathetically.

  8. Its a twisted definition of the bible that believes rapes are blessings from God… these are very twisted theologians.

  9. Hecuba: This misogeny/misinfo that men make the egg came down from the Greco/Roman era. I do not expect much to change until we stop making these philosophical schools required reading in college/schools.

  10. Jackie De Hon says:

    I’ve worked all of my life for women’s rights. Nearly 40 years ago, I saw the dangers of men who felt they had the right to control women, so I wrote this poem about FORCED BIRTHS. I call it Zealot War-mongers Song.

    With today’s Republican War Against Women, and candidates who are stating openly their horrid plans to strip us of our rights to our own bodies, I offer its use—free of charge—to any individual or group which works to help women regain our equal place in America…and in the world.

    I place only one restriction—give me credit for my work. Keep my name with the poem. It is published in my book, Prisms: Refracting Light of Women’s Lives

    Jackie De Hon 10-25-12

    Zealot War-mongers’ Song ©
    By Jackie De Hon, Ph.D.

    Outlaw birth control today,
    No abortions . . . make them pay
    For their “sins”—WE MAKE THE RULES
    FOR THEIR BODIES, we’re no fools!
    Punish women, large and small,
    So war-men can stand up tall
    Force more children on a globe
    Overburdened, pain untold.
    Add more people, never mind
    Mass starvation and that kind!

    Surplus people we can use
    Then we won’t have to conclude
    Peace is better . . . and accord.
    We would rather use the sword!
    Power and control are all
    That can matter, stand or fall.
    With all the war-men that we need
    We will not have to concede . . .
    Can fight until the bloody end
    The war no one can ever win!

    In Prisms: Refracting Light of Women’s Lives,
    Jackie D. De Hon, Ph.D., Xlibris 2009

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