Rick Santorum and rape: “We have to make the best out of a bad situation.”

And while I’m on the subject of Things That Are Bad for Women and Girls: Rick Santorum.

"Freedom," that is, unless you disagree on the "faith" and/or "family" parts.

Rick Santorum, a person who would be President and who rather notably will never be pregnant nor vaginally raped, had this to say on Friday, regarding becoming impregnated as a result of rape:

As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child…. I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.

Yes. “Accept what God has given to you… we have to make the best out of a bad situation.” Yes.

Many, many conservative women have had abortions (such as the abortion that Rick Santorum’s own wife was about to have when she spontaneously miscarried in 1997) and/or been the victims of sexual assault. I wish to hell they would start speaking up, because as long as they don’t, people like Rick Santorum will continue to do real damage to this country’s women — present and future.

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24 Comments

  1. Ah, but hang on, God is omnipotent and omniscient, so then he connived in the bad thing happening. It is only a small logical leap to argue that God raped you, and you should be grateful to be pregnant.

    This man, like many fundamentalist, literalist Christians and religious people of all faiths, is a bloody idiot who should be laughed out of town.

    And incidentally, I am a lifelong christian believer, with a theology degree.

    http://www.wellthisiswhatithink.wordpress.com

    • efgoldman

       /  January 23, 2012

      Goes back at least to Leda and the swan, doesn’t it.

      Jebus, what an odious, evil, slimy person.

      I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife, but on the off chance that Sanctimoneous Savonarola Santorum is right about it, he’s going to wish for an afterlife as good as Bosch paintings.

      I’m generally not violent, either, but I can imagine myself punching him in the nuts with brass knuckles.

  2. Darth Thulhu

     /  January 24, 2012

    I flat out believe zygotes are distinct human beings and abortion is homicide. Total agreement with the former Senator there.

    So why can’t the Senator agree with me that the child poses as a grave risk to the right to life of the mother? And an even larger threat to her rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

    Abortion is always a horrific choice … mother’s continued life vs. child’s continued life. Nonetheless, we easily recognize plenty of other situations where an act of homicide is justified, if regrettable. Why can’t the former Senator acknowledge this as but one of them?

    • The thing that really gets me here is that he and his wife apparently agreed with you, back in 1997: If the life of the mother is endangered, her life should come first.

      But now he doesn’t. How’d that happen?

      Though I would argue that this argument doesn’t touch on the genuine destruction that rape can wreak on a woman’s life that wouldn’t be considered a literal threat. And as a person who does not believe that abortion is murder — certainly abortion prevents the possibility of life, but not life itself — that damage is far more important to me than anyone else’s position on the topic.

      • efgoldman

         /  January 24, 2012

        You could almost give them credit for consistency, (the church, at least. is officially against the death penalty – I don’t know Senator Savonarola’s position),IF he, and the church, and the fundies, weren’t also dead set against any form of birth control.

        Waayyy deep down in their lizard brains – or maybe not so deep – this is about women being vessels or chattel, and not fully human. They’d repeal women’s right to vote, or own property, if they could.

        And of course, this is the same behavior, less the burkhas, for which they criticize fundamentalist Muslim societies.

  3. dmf

     /  January 24, 2012

    I’m not glad that people hold such views but I am glad that they are getting a very public hearing, the Catholic Church’s position on the sanctity of life (recently adopted by many protestant christianists who not too long ago were busy distributing tracts explaining how papists were the tools of Satan) is quite extreme and in some serious ways sanctifies suffering, brings new meaning to the phrase “going medieval”…

  4. If you believe that abortion is murder, and should be outlawed for that reason, then it’s a lot more consistent to oppose it in all cases than it is to carve out exceptions for rape and incest.

    • Well, that’s true, and indeed, we could have all known this without him saying it out loud.

      Consistency doesn’t make it any less odious however.

      • The point I’m trying to make is that that odiousness is inherent in the pro-life position, and that Santorum (and others who also don’t hide behind a rape/incest exception) does people a favor by laying it out plainly. People are going to focus (rightly so) on this statement because it’s so grotesque, but it’s not really more grotesque than the standard pro-life position, the one that uses to the power of the state to force women to be embryo incubators. Pro-lifers have used the rape/incest clause (which is a very tiny proportion of abortions that are performed in this country) as a sort of public opinion escape hatch, knowing full well that the practical effect of whatever draconian anti-abortion law they are proposing will be to make abortions harder and harder for women to obtain. It’s good that these words are being talked about, but I fear that Santorum will be treated as some sort of outlier in the pro-life movement, when I consider him to be perfectly representative of it.

        • While I normally fear the tendency of humans to see extreme cases of bad behavior as non-representative (witness our argument over on Robert Wright’s post yesterday), I think that in this case, there are a LOT of people who don’t actually give a lot of thought to what “pro-life” means beyond “killing babies is bad.” When Santorum says these things, he lays bare for those people that if they or any female people they love happen to get raped, their leaders would force them to carry any resultant pregnancies to term. This focuses the mind I think, much as when blatant racists finally come out and give their racism its most blatant form. Those who allowed themselves to not think too much about the implications of their positions are forced to start doing so, and ultimately, I think that’s a good thing.

        • Captain Button

           /  January 24, 2012

          As above I find the idea of a rape* exception to be grossly inconsistent. Either they are all murder or none of them are murder**.

          I’m likely committing the sin of mind reading the other side here***:

          This looks to me like a good indication that the real agenda here is not about protecting unborn life, it is about controlling women. By punishing them for having sex. You punish the immoral women by making them go through undesired pregnancy and childbirth, and by making it very hard to conceal their sin.

          But women who are pregnant because of rape haven’t sinned, and so it would be unfair to punish them, so they get an exception.

          * And why is incest in there at all? The implicit assumption here is that all incest is also rape. I’m sure damn near all of it is. So it doesn’t need to be on the list of exceptions.

          ** Pregnancies that endanger the mother’s health are another matter.

          *** I am firmly in the pro-choice camp, i.e. none of them are murder. Just to be clear.

          • Here’s the thing: I do believe that these is a very, very powerful strain of controlling women and punishing them for being sexual, absolutely.

            But I don’t think that’s all of it. I ask myself: If I genuinely believed this to be murder – like, for real murder – would I not take steps? I would. I think that there are also a good number of people who fall in that camp, but who recognize that on occasion, you have to choose between what they would consider two really terrible evils (such as DT, above).

  5. nm

     /  January 24, 2012

    If, God forbid, Santorum develops cancer, is he going to accept what has been given him? Or is he going to determine, with the help of his physician, what course to take to interfere with that divine gift?

    • Yeah, and when his unborn baby had a birth defect, did he accept God’s will in this situation, or did he seek medical treatment (which ultimately only made things worse)? Y’all get one guess. If that’s not playing God then I don’t know what is.

  6. Ash Can

     /  January 24, 2012

    Regardless of whether Santorum is sincere about this — and, as you point out, there’s reason to believe he’s not — it’s a vile thing to say.

  7. SWNC

     /  January 24, 2012

    Emily, you are bringing it this week.

  8. Captain Button

     /  January 24, 2012

    If you have a rape exception, how do you check on the validity? If you don’t what stops any woman who wants an abortion from claiming she was raped just so she can get one?

    • Well, that’s but one of the problems, yes. And then the other side of that is you get more people saying that women “cry rape” all the time….

  9. helensprogeny

     /  January 24, 2012

    It’s all so easy for Rick, since the situation for him is entirely theoretical. For some of us out here in reality-land, it’s not even remotely theoretical. And yes, it’s all about the domination and control of women, who apparently scare the living shit out of people like Rick Santorum. If he wasn’t so dangerous, it might be easier to feel compassion for him. As it stands, I just want to join efgoldman in a session with the brass knuckles.

    • Captain Button

       /  January 24, 2012

      “Have I Brass Knuckles?!”

      “Have I BRASS KNUCKLES?!!”

      “Have I brass knuckles?”

      – D. Duck

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