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We can’t take abortion rights for granted

At news conference Wednesday IndianRepublican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock pauses while explaining his comment during debate Tuesday night thwhen woman

At a news conference Wednesday, Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock pauses while explaining his the comment during a debate Tuesday night that when a woman becomes pregnant from a rape, “that’s something God intended.” | Michael Conroy~

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Updated: November 29, 2012 6:06AM

As one male GOP candidate after another has stepped up to play “Father Knows Best” when it comes to abortion — particularly when it involves a rape victim — I keep asking myself how has it come to this: that women’s reproductive rights are in such danger and decisions about them are potentially in the hands of so many misinformed men.

In the recent past, I have written about and wondered how the educated Republican women I know can give a pass to their party platform, which clearly states: “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”

Nowhere in that very succinct statement does it make exceptions for rape or incest victims or situations when a woman’s life is in danger.

These smart women of privilege must figure they have the means to take care of themselves or a family member who finds herself in the tragic situation of not only being raped, but then pregnant, so they can look the other way when it comes to that piece of their party’s platform.

And I’ve wondered why I don’t see more young women taking issue with this dim-witted reasoning from candidates who steadfastly oppose abortion.

Why aren’t they worried about seeing their rights diminished or eliminated altogether?

After reading a package of articles by the Associated Press,, I think I can see how young women, and even older women like myself, took our eye off the ball when it came to abortion, something the opposition clearly did not.

Roe vs. Wade was the law of the land; contraception had become more accessible, and we were comfortable knowing we had reproductive rights. I know I wrongly thought no one would want to go back to the times when an unintended pregnancy could put a woman’s life in jeopardy.

But when it came to legalized abortion, while we were glad it was available, we kept a distance. That was something someone else did, not us. We didn’t think it was a decision we’d ever have to make.

Again, knowing that contraception is more readily available, the AP article points out, there is this underlying, unspoken sentiment that only some dumb bunny could find herself accidentally pregnant.

But AP reporter Lindsey Tanner found women who had undergone abortions and were willing to talk. Contrary to the myth the opposition often floats, they were not reckless women using abortion as a means of contraception.

Instead, they included women who had taken precautions but contraception failed. One was a woman who risked losing her life if the pregnancy had continued. Another was like many of us are: pro-choice but never thinking we might have to make that decision ourselves.

So maybe we needed the coldhearted and inaccurate commentary of this election season to make us take a step back and remember that girls and women just like us find themselves with pregnancies they cannot continue.

And realize that somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 abortions take place as a result of reported rape or incest, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

I’m willing to admit that I’ve grown complacent when it comes to abortion and a woman’s right to choose. But Nov. 6 gives me — and other women — a chance to pull that lever and show we know the value of our reproductive rights.

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