Harris-Perry to Mourdock: Assaults on choice are assaults on women

By David Ferguson
Saturday, October 27, 2012 13:08 EDT
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Saturday on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry,” host Harris-Perry directed an open letter to Indiana candidate for U.S. Senate Richard Mourdock, the latest Republican candidate to go on the record saying that there should not be an exception in abortion laws for victims of rape and incest, but rather that women should look at rape-induced pregnancies as a “gift from God.”

Harris-Perry wrote her letter to Mourdock from the perspective of a survivor of sexual assault, informing him that to women like herself, his words are worse than insulting.

“Dear Mr. Mourdock,” she wrote, “Sometimes I still flinch when I’m touched a certain way, even if it’s the loving embrace of my husband.”

“Those of us who are sexual assault survivors call these triggers. We spend our lives — the lives we lead after the attack — avoiding and managing these triggers,” she continued.

Harris-Perry said that she has never known a Congressional debate to require a “trigger warning,” but Mourdock’s remarks last week during a debate in Indiana needed exactly that.

“Rape and sexual assault are complicated experiences for survivors. Some of us fight, kick, scream, and resist at every moment. Some of us eventually give in to save our own lives or to manage the horror,” she said.

Mourdock and other Republican politicians seeking to strip women of their right to choose what decisions they will make with their bodies and their reproductive health, she said, are stripping women of the same right that rapists do, the right of consent. Assaults on women’s right to choose are merely a different type of assault.

“Now let me say this very clearly to you Mr Mourdock, and to all of your shameless endorsers: we did not survive an attack on our consent just to turn around and give up our right to choose to you. Not without a fight,” she said. “Are you sure you want to have that fight?”

Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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