This 2013 election, the group of voters that ultimately gave Barack Obama an edge was women. The female vote, which favored Obama’s 55 percent to Mitt Romney’s 43 percent, created a gap due to the hot button issue of abortion and rape.
The controversial comments made by Richard Mourdock, the 53rd Treasurer of Indiana, Todd Akin, representative of Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, and Joe Walsh, representative of Illinois’ 8th congressional district were unpleasant to the female audience.
Senate candidate Mourdock found himself in the hot seat with his statement about “Pregnancies from rape are God’s will.”
“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God,” Richard Mourdock said. “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
The comments by Mourdock and the other Republican politicians caused women to swing their election votes from Republican to Democrat, and the switch occurred on campus also.
“It’s something god intended? What the f**k?” Danielle Cruz, Criminal Justice major, said. “This is why I’m a democrat, voted democrat, and would vote democrat if I lived in Indiana.”
Richard Mourdock made his infamous “God’s will,” comment in the middle of his senate seat campaign similar to the way Todd Akin did. Akin joined Mourdock in the debate with his own view of what he called “Legitimate rape.”
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that it [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Todd Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
“That is just ridiculous,” Alyssa Vuozzo, an Interior Design major, said. “If I got raped and had the child, how would I ever explain that to my kid? I would never want them to find out; it just opens the door to so many other issues in the future. Rape is rape. No one wants to have a kid that will remind them of that horrible time, at least I know I wouldn’t.”
The issue of abortion is one that can be argued when combined with the scenario of rape. Abortion breaches from a moral concern to an ethical dilemma, especially with the welfare of the rape victim on the line.
Joe Walsh of Illinois added his own comments to the issue when he not only backed what Todd Akin had said, but added to it.
“Outside of the very rare circumstances such as ectopic pregnancies, and other rare health issues, the research is pretty clear that with the advances in modern medicine, an invasive and traumatic procedure like an abortion is not necessary to save the life of a mother,” Walsh said. “Let me be very clear that when I say I am pro-life, I mean that I am pro-life for the mother, and I am pro-life for the unborn child. For me, there is no distinction between the two.”
“I had a friend that had to have an abortion because she had medical issues, so to read this by Walsh just sickens me,” Chrisistella Konomos, Liberal Arts major, said. “It’s the woman’s choice regardless of the situation, belief or whatever and that’s that.”
Walsh, Mourdock, and Akin would all try to back track on their comments in order to limit the media’s back lash. Yet, as hard as they did to save their campaigns, their efforts would prove futile as they lost their races.
The issue of rape and abortion will continue to be a critical issue, but if the losses of these three men indicate something, it’s that women that will have the final say. Women made up the largest demographic of voters in the 2013 election.