We talked earlier about Republican Richard Mourdock, his party's U.S. Senate candidate in Indiana, arguing in a debate last night that a rape pregnancy "is something that God intended to happen." This is quickly becoming a major national controversy for the candidate -- and Mitt Romney, who's championed Mourdock -- for good reason.
But just to flesh out the larger context a bit, I looked through my notes this morning on just how often Republicans, rape, and reproductive rights have come to the fore in recent months.
In August, Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said women have special powers to "shut down" pregnancies caused by a "legitimate rape." Soon after, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who cosponsored a bill with Akin to redefine rape, said he believes "the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life." The same week, Steve King (R-Iowa) said he "hasn't heard of" women getting impregnated by a rapist, while Senate candidate Tom Smith (R-Pa.) said rape pregnancies are "similar" to out-of-wedlock pregnancies.
In September, Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) compared the Middle East violence in response to an anti-Islam video to a judge telling a rape victim, "You asked for it because of the way you dressed." Around the same time, Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) told constituents, "There are very few pregnancies as a result of rape."
In October, we learned that Roger Rivard (R-Wis.) thinks "some girls rape easy." Soon after, Rick Berg (R-N.D.) said rape victims shouldn't be allowed to terminate pregnancies, but refused to explain what kind of penalties he'd impose on women who got abortions anyway.
For the record, 83% of Americans believe it should be legal to terminate rape pregnancies. With public opinion, and basic human decency, in mind, perhaps Republicans should try to avoid discussing the issue for a while until the party comes up with a more compassionate, and less extreme, position.