Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock ultimately lost their races for the U.S. Senate in part because of a controversy created after both answered media questions about their position opposing abortion in cases of rape or incest.
Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life attorney conceived in rape, says the problem is not that they hold the pro-life position opposing abortion in such circumstances but that the answer to the question left them set up for criticism.
In a column she wrote, Keissling offers pro-life candidates advice on how to better respond:
I knew this would happen! I predicted that Republican party apologists would blame Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin’s losses on the fact that they are 100% pro-life, instead of acknowledging that the losses were due to how poorly they expressed their positions.
And sure enough, the day after the election, Ann Coulter did just that. In her article entitled, “Don’t Blame Romney,” she spent half of the article blaming these two Senate candidates for daring to defend the life of every preborn child. Her exact words were, “because these two idiots decided to come out against abortion in the case of rape and incest,” calling them “pro-life badasses,” “purist grandstanders,” with “insane positions,” who were “showing off.” Unfortunately, Coulter has a huge following and will surely influence many uninformed readers with her misstatement of the facts and her flawed reasoning. I have great concern that these Senate losses will have a chilling effect on pro-life legislators and voters. Hence, a swift and thorough response is in order.
I was not only conceived in rape, but nearly aborted at two back-alley abortionists. The only reason I wasn’t killed through a brutal abortion is because I was legally protected. My heroes are those pro-life legislators and activists who were hard-working and intelligent enough to understand that mine was a life worth saving.
Coulter went on to erroneously write that Mourdock and Akin lost because they had “abortion positions that less than 1 percent of the nation agrees with.” Her figure is way off, and she has totally ignored the fact that their abortion position adheres to the Republican party platform!
Additionally, the 1% figure Coulter threw out there is just not even close to being true. Polls in the last few years have consistently shown that the number is between 20 to 24% of Americans who believe abortion should be illegal in cases of rape. The other 31%+ of Americans who are pro-life with exceptions are 99% of the way there, and only need to be nudged another 1%.
My experience shows that this is easy to achieve – if you try, just as how my story changed the heart of Gov. Rick Perry during his presidential campaign. And that’s the key.
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Why continue to minimize? Why not stand up and really defend our lives? We need to try to gain ground on this issue, by educating the public, by equipping candidates and legislators on how to most effectively respond to the rape question, by making ads with children conceived in rape available for anyone who wishes to utilize them, and by removing rape exceptions from the law, beginning with the Hyde Amendment.
Tell me that my life was not worthy of protection and that I don’t deserve to be living, and I’ll show you who is the one who is extreme.
We must not discriminate! Children conceived in rape are surely the most outcast members of our society, being unfairly demonized and portrayed as a “horrible reminder of the rape,” “the rapist’s baby,” “tainting the gene pool,” and even “demon spawn.”
If we are going to gain ground in this effort to protect unborn children, we must maintain a standard, and we must make more of an effort to educate. I believe that the best people to do so are those of us who have been on the front-lines as pro-life speakers who were conceived in rape, who have been spending our entire adult lives defending our right to life.
We’ve heard every question, every challenge, every argument. Why not utilize us? Just to name a few, there is Ryan Bomberger, Susan Jaramillo, and Pam Stenzel. On my website, there are dozens of stories of others conceived in rape and who became pregnant by rape. We’ve publicly shared our stories for a reason – please use them!
On this point, Keissling is right. She and other people like here who were born after they were conceived in rape are the face of the abortion-rape issue. Any candidate who faces such a question need only refer to Rebecca and the men and women like her and respond, “Can you look them in the eye and tell them they should have been killed instead?” Such a retort would likely be met with silence and without the controversy their answers generated.