By now, I assume we have all heard or read Republican Senatorial candidate Richard Murdouck’s comment that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” It seems like yet another rape or pregnancy related gaffe from a Republican, coming on the heels of Todd Aikin’s and Joe Walsh’s recent comments.
However, contra Dr. Saunders, I can’t condemn his remarks the way I can the other two. Though politically-stupid, and awkwardly-worded, Mr. Murdouck’s comment is defensible. Writing in National Post, Marni Soupcoff argues:
When Mr. Mourdock made his comments about God intending to create a life “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape,” he did not appear to be trying to diminish the seriousness of rape (no hints that some kinds of rape don’t actually qualify) or to cast any blame on the female victim.
It seems he was genuinely trying to express his feeling that all children have value, even those who came to be through a reprehensible act of violence.
This seems quite on-point to me. If you believe that the unborn are people, and if you believe that all human life is a beautiful gift from God, then it does not matter how that life was conceived; it is still a beautiful gift from God. We can, and certainly will, argue about whether Mr. Murdouck is correct in his assertion that life begins at conception. We can argue about when personhood begins and whether the dignity of the unborn outweighs the autonomy of the mother or vice versa, but none of that makes Mr. Murdouck’s comments Aikin-esque.
There are ugly implications to Mr. Murdouck’s view, but valuing human life is not one of them.