Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Richard Mourdock is correct on his position regarding a rape exemption to terminate the life of an unborn child.

At the onset it is important to mention that the US Supreme Court was incorrect in the application of constitutional law to reproductive rights in the Roe v Wade decision. As reproductive activity, particularly terminating the life of an unborn child, is not specifically enumerated as a power provided to the federal government through the United States Constitution it is then properly addressed to the individual states as proscribed by the Tenth Amendment to said constitution. Thus it is a question appropriate for state legislators, not federal.

While I am very much supportive of reproductive rights, and actually feel that there should be legislation at the state level to expand those rights, I do support Mourdock's stance on the abortion issue. While Mourdock bases his stance on a religious foundation, mine is much more pragmatic. As an intensely spiritual person I have a natural abhorrence for organized religion, theocracy, and thus I would not allow religion to enter into a policy position. Mourdock states that his religious convictions provide that a child conceived, regardless of the circumstances, is Gods' will.

I take a much different view. My belief is more towards deism or dystheism -- that while, at best, there could be a logical conception of evidence of a creator there is no evidence of a monotheistic god who is altruistic and directs all actions. Stephen Hawkings has asserted that since time does not have a start or end point that this then leaves out the possibility of a creator god. That would be a whole other posting though.

Recognition of Truth reveals that man is solely responsible for his actions. So, instead my policy position would derive itself from inalienable rights, personal responsibility, contract law and custodial duties.

In the debate Mourdock was speaking as to his personal feelings on terminating the life of an unborn child based upon his religious convictions. He is correct, based upon his religious convictions, as to his position on rape and abortion. As for me I am not going to allow my decisions to be guided by some mythical stories created by ancient shamans and politicians.

If it came to a policy decision in which terminating the life of an unborn child was made unlawful then I could not support a rape exemption unless some key questions were first established in such legislation.

1. Definition of rape? Current criminal code definition, more restrictive, less restrictive.
2. What is the reporting period? 24 hours, prior to request to terminate life, none.
3. What is the burden of proof? Positive rape kit test, arrest, conviction, naming or identification of alleged perpetrator, dna evidence.
4. Are the costs borne by the state through the victims compensation fund?

If these questions can be sufficiently addressed in a manner that ensures that only actual victims of rape receive an exemption and that no requirement could induce or encourage a false allegation then I would support such an exemption. Finding a balance that protects the offended person while at the same time ensuring that the falsely accused does not suffer the harms of the accusation has been difficult.

I have written numerous pieces of legislation, been a consultant to legislators on crafting language for legislation, participated in conference committee to merge Senate and House bills into one and advised other state policy makers on policy language. I have seen the protracted debate and argument that goes into things as seemingly simple as the definition of “late” or “family member”. I have worked with these policy makers and legislators on trying to do the same with the more complex issues of domestic violence laws and the Civil Protection Order statute. These are two areas in which judges readily acknowledge that false allegations are routinely made and that numerous parents and the children suffer the consequences of the false allegations.

I do not want to see the life of any unborn child taken as I believe protecting children is the ultimate responsibility for both individuals and society as a whole. I also want to see our reproductive rights maintained and expanded. I have some difficulty with the concept of compelling parents who wish death upon their own child to, under force of law, carry through with bringing the child into the post-uterine world.

In my life when it comes to reproductive rights I have encountered few people that hold such a broad pro-choice stance as myself. Contrary to the perceptions that many may hold about the Nazis it was actually Indiana which became the first government in the world to round up it's own citizens during a forced eugenics program. Sterilizations based upon guidelines set by our state legislature is wrong. There has also been raised the proposition of forced castration for those convicted of rape – another reproductive rights restriction that I oppose. The one that I have failed to hear the so-called “pro-choice” community raise is modification to the age of consent laws. In Indiana the state legislature has determined that persons under the age of 16 years have no legal right to determine their reproductive activities. Just as I believe that the alcohol consumption age restriction should be scrapped in favour of competency testing so should the age of consent – but based upon biological and competency standards.

When considering any policy that includes within its spectrum – rape – keep one thing in mind: efforts of The Innocence Project has led to the release of numerous convicted rapist who, based upon substantiated evidence [including some admissions by “victims” that no rape occurred], did not commit a rape.

If you are involved in a child custody battle and want to position yourself for the best outcome then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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