The only exception I have to Richard Mourdock’s recent statements regarding abortion is…well…(almost) everything.
There are so many emotions and feelings coursing through my body at his remarks that I don’t even know where to begin.
I am equally repulsed, sickened, disheartened, angered, and flabbergasted that in the 21stcentury we still have people using language like “legitimate rape.”
No matter how many times this man might try to say his words were taken out of context, one cannot ignore the illogicality in his statement.
“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s begin at the beginning of his statement.
“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother.”
Mr. Mourdock, are you referring to the quantity of days in that life, or to the quality of that life?
When I was sixteen years old, I made a foolish mistake.
I dressed up in a floral-printed sundress—it had the sweetest, tailored bolero jacket—and entered a bar with a friend.
Innocent, young, and as naïve as a newborn, I thought the college boy I’d been chatting with most of the night was interested in getting to know me better when he asked me to go for a stroll on the downtown street in front of the pub, which was directly across from the university.
And he was. But the only part of my body he wanted to get to know was my vagina.
“Oh, you’re a virgin,” he said as he zipped up his pants as quickly as he’d unzipped them. “I told myself I’d never do that again.”
He disappeared into the night as quickly as he’d come into me.
I was left with blood trails crusting on my legs and dark red splotches seeping into the fibers of my favorite white dress.
Fortunately, his sperm never connected with my eggs.
But what I can tell you is that I spent years—decades—blaming myself for that rape.
All those horrible lies victims tell themselves ate at my soul.
I shouldn’t have been there.
I asked for it because I was in a dress and in a bar and I returned his flirtations.
I’m so stupid.
God is punishing me for being stupid/playful/naïve/enjoying the attention of a boy.
The next fifteen-plus years were filled with fear, self-loathing, and numerous thoughts of suicide.
Those issues would have only been compounded had I—a vibrant, straight A student who worked at the local supermarket and was the most sought-after babysitter in the neighborhood—been impregnated by this rapist.
That chaos was the life of the raped teenager and would have been the life of the mother had I conceived amongst the bushes beneath the streetlamp on Main Street, USA.
“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God.
I do concur with you that life is a gift in the sense that it is something to be treasured, an existence for which we can give great thanks.
“I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Mr. Mourdock, I cannot begin to tell you the fear that coursed through me when my picture-perfect, peaceful labor and delivery room setting became a flourish of Code Blue Responders.
I cannot begin to tell you the pain that seized every cell in my body when the nurse responded to my question, “Where’s my baby?” with this: “I’m sorry. He didn’t make it.”
I cannot begin to tell you the confusion I faced, me, this mother without a child.
I cannot begin to tell you the shame I bore in not being able to protect my baby from harm.
I cannot begin to convey to you the anguish I felt when I imagined him suffering, suffocating when he inhaled his meconium (baby’s first stool), as he made his way through the birth canal.
And I cannot begin to share with you the agony I felt over expressions like, “It was God’s will and God’s plan.” Or phrases like these, “When God closes one door, he opens another.” “God plucked a beautiful rose for heaven.”
But the one that caused me the greatest conflict and infuriated me the most, Mr. Mourdock, was this paradox: “God is not a cruel God; He is a loving God.”
By its very definition, cruel means to knowingly inflict pain on another.
God would know how much pain I would endure upon the death of this child, one I had thought about since I was a young girl.
God would know how utterly terrifying and brutal it is to asphyxiate.
A kind God wouldn’t allow a mother to suffer the death of one child, let alone endorse on her life the loss of two more to miscarriage.
A kind God wouldn’t decide that one of His children would burn alive in a house fire, he wouldn’t sanction affairs, and he certainly wouldn’t push little old ladies down flights of stairs to their deaths.
The Spiritual Facet of my grief was the most difficult to resolve because of these things that organized religion tells us.
I’ll never forget the moment I found that last piece of my grief puzzle.
I had gone on to successfully bear two children and my third nestled deep in my womb when I finally learned the truth that Warren and my best friend were, indeed, having an affair.
Within hours I lay broken on the floor of my kitchen, slumped against my washer.
Every academic, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual piece of me had been shredded. The last thread I’d held on to—the spiritual connection and belief in people—had vaporized.
In that heap, though, remained a thread of moxie, a strand of hope that told me to pick up the phone.
The minister on the other end of the line couldn’t help me because he was moving; the cargo van literally pulling out of the drive as we spoke.
But he gave me the name and number of a woman who, in one short hour, became my lifeline.
My sorrows spewed from my lips as I sat across from this lady who was crippled with MS, her slight figure frail in a seat that seemed to swallow her.
“How could God allow a person to experience so much tragedy?” I wailed.
God neither promotes nor enacts injustice and suffering.
“God is always with us,” this savior said to me. “…divine intervention is rare… He was in the room with you when you encountered abuse—He was crying out in pain with you and screaming for it to stop…”
In that very moment, I could feel the weight of enormous arms wrapping me in a warm, compassionate embrace.
And I found peace.
Mr. Mourdock, I do not think that when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.
I do not think that God chooses who will and won’t conceive, that he handpicks drug-addicted/violent/absentee girls to become mothers and leaves other capable/caring/compassionate women barren.
My loving God was shouting at the top of his lungs for every perpetrator to stop, he was rocking the battered and frightened females (male victims, too), and he held the hand of each as she walked through life, trying to make sense of it all.
I respect your right to honor your God as He fits into your life, Mr. Mourdock, to live by the code of your own religion.
I humbly ask that you show some consideration for those of us who believe God’s Will and God’s Plan are grounded in a different sort of grace.
What a powerful post. Not sure if it would do any of the anti-abortionists any good to hear this, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone could be against abortion when faced with stories like yours.
Thank you, Pauline. Glad to share this little bit of spiritual grace with you…
Though there will always be extremists on both sides, I do hope those who are willing to pause and reflect will understand that our differences in opinion do not make us enemies…
Wow. Like really wow. You have quite a story. I am so so sorry to hear that your very first sexual experience was, well, anything less than stellar. As a man, I am ashamed for my sex. As an adult, I cannot stress enough the need in our society for better sex education, not just about the mechanics but about the personal, emotional side of relationships. Abstinence only education is not helping anybody to better understand the human condition.
When I wrote about an abortion and the fact women die trying to get an abortion, a commentator said that he could not sympathize with a murderer who dies in the process of killing another human being. Whether a foetus is a human can be debated ad infinitum but I note that no matter what anybody says about abortion, mothers, yes women themselves opt to have an abortion. This tells me the mother has a completely different take on the issue of a foetus being a human being or not. It is not in any way up to me (or anybody else for that matter) to dictate to a woman what is the best decision to make for themselves and for their potential child.
I also wrote that my grandmother supposedly died from a botched abortion back in 1937. And yes, according to this commentator, as a murderer she deserved to die. My mother lost her mother at the age of 8. My grandfather lost his wife. And I was deprived of ever knowing my grandmother. But justice was served, my grandmother the murderer paid for her sin.
It is easy to sit on your moral high horse and condemn other people according to whatever moral code you want to make up for yourself but it is a completely different story when it is you who is in trouble and who faces an event which can change your life forever. How many times have I heard a story about an politician who has an anti-abortion stance but has gotten an abortion for either his wife or his mistress?
I’m reading. wb 🙂
I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother, and am saddened for the countless families who have suffered at the hands of lawmakers who have no idea the complexities, hardships, and thought that go into one’s decision to have an abortion.
I hope you pay no regard to the commentator who said your grandmother deserved her death. After my son died, a well-intentioned organization sent me a pamphlet citing that my son was sacrificed for my sins…
But as I write in response to Mourdock’s statement, everyone believes in their own deity and their own sort of grace. Rather than hold malice over them, I choose to be grateful for the loving, compassionate God I serve.
As I wrote in The Bride of Osama (http://thefivefacets.blogspot.com/2012/09/hate-crimes-in-benghazi-bride-of-osama.html), I wonder when anti-abortionists are going to open their hearts and homes to the millions of children who currently need a loving family and home…
Happy you’re still reading. 🙂
Well put, Annah. Those who make thoughtless remarks based upon self-righteous and judgmental belief systems should read that blog post.
Thanks, CoincidentAli. Share the link and spread the word. The subject is relevant, regardless of one’s views on religion or abortion.
Oh Annah. So much pain. I don’t believe in this sort of God either – one whose “will” is to cause such vile acts. We – human beings – must take responsibility for our own actions and also, accept that some things happen by chance.
I said chance. Not God’s will. Not my sort of God, anyway.
May your voice continue to ring loud and true. Occasionally, truth makes its way even to deaf ears.
Thank you! I’m glad to know others have found peace with the same God I have come to know.
Help my voice find its way to those ears; share the link and spread the word.