"Hearing the words from Richard Mourdock, I was actually relieved."
So says Monica Kelsey, a woman conceived in rape, speaking in a web video put out by the Indiana Right to Life PAC. The video is responding to a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee advertisement for Joe Donnelly, who is running against Richard Mourdock in Indiana's U.S. Senate race. The race experienced a new twist after Mourdock suggested a child conceived in rape was still a gift from God.
"I don't think that anyone should deserve the death penalty simply for the acts of their father," says Kelsey in the video.
In fact, Kelsey goes after Donnelly for exploiting her life and women who have been raped for political gain.
Hers is a voice that has been incredibly overlooked when debating a rape exception for abortion. She recounts in the video how the only reason her mother ended up not getting an abortion in 1972 (despite a visit to a "back alley" location) was that she felt she was breaking the law. She never looked at Kelsey, who was adopted when she was six weeks old and didn't reconnect with her birth family until she turned 21.
Contrary to what you'd believe when listening to Democrats today, Kelsey's birth mom--at least based on her daughter's account in the video--doesn't seem unhappy the law prevented her from aborting her child.
"Today, every time I see her, she hugs me and says that she made the best choice," Kelsey said.
Kelsey's testimony is incredibly powerful. She admits that even she thought abortions should be allowed in some cases--but her outlook changed when she discovered she herself would have been one of those exceptions.
"I always thought that the child would never want to grow up knowing that they were conceived out of a horrible act," Kelsey said.
Watching Kelsey's story is a privilege. And it's something that Democrats and Republicans should be aware of, including Mitt Romney and Indiana gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mike Pence. Pence's suggestion that Mourdock should apologize for his initial comment that set off the firestorm was an unfortunate lapse in judgment and played horribly like a self-serving move to save a political campaign that really wasn't in need of saving. For Democrats and Republicans alike, Kelsey's story should be a learning experience. This is about changing hearts and minds.