As a physician and self-proclaimed humanist, I tried to suppress my impulse to respond to the comment by candidate for U.S. Senate, Richard Mourdock, who stated that a pregnancy caused by rape was God’s intention and a gift, and I failed. Every time I hear someone, in particular a politician, claim to know God’s will, it grates on my sensibilities; not because I am religious, or have my own particular insight into the manifestations of the unknowable that jibes with theirs. It is because of the unmitigated gall of those who believe they have the inside track on God’s will, even if it is their own special deity with whom they commune every day.
Whether you believe that the fusion of sperm and egg, and its subsequent implantation, is the will of God or the primal anti-entropic urge of carbon based life forms; when you start trying to impose your beliefs on others in ways that cause the vast majority of us in this country to cringe, chances are you are stepping over the line of civility, if not trampling outright on the Constitution.
Let me give you an example. If you assert that every successful fusion of egg and sperm and subsequent implantation, even as a consequence of rape, is the will of God; then you must also believe that every time a successfully implanted human fertilized egg is subsequently rejected in a miscarriage, this too is God’s will. About 10 to 20% of the 150 million or so pregnancies each year in the world end in spontaneous miscarriage. That amounts to millions of spontaneously miscarried living and innocent embryonic souls each year, most of which (or should I say ‘whom’) are perfectly formed and otherwise viable. Now here’s where this kind of arrogance about knowing God’s will makes us cringe: this would also make God the world’s busiest abortionist.
Ok, I ‘m sorry if this offends you. It offends me too (probably for a different reason), but it is the inevitable consequence of the kind of affectation that leads a candidate for the US Senate to proclaim that he knows God’s will when it comes to pregnancy and rape. Mr. Mourdock, no matter how strongly you believe something, sometimes these things are better left unsaid, lest someone else carries your distorted assertion to an even greater extreme.