Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock called pregnancy from rape a “gift from God,” during his debate Tuesday night with Democratic opponent Rep. Joe Donnelly.
When the mediator asked Mourdock his opinion on whether abortion should be legal in instances of rape or incest, he replied, “I struggled with myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended to happen.”
After the debate, Mourdock clarified his opinion: “God creates life, and that was my point,” Mourdock said in a media release. “God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that he does.”
The Washington Post points out that Mourdock’s statements echo those of Sharron Angle who lost the 2010 Nevada Senate race after she voiced opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest because “God has a plan.” Angle also indirectly suggested that pregnant rape victims should “turn a lemon situation into lemonade.”
Mourdock’s extreme viewpoints on women’s rights come on the heels of Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments in August that women do not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
While many members of the Republican party condemned Akin’s remarks and the GOP pressured him to withdraw from the race, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) defended Akin telling KMEG-TV that he’s never heard of a person being impregnated from statutory rape or incest. “Well I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way,” King told the reporter, “and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”
The Christian Science Monitor reported that Mitt Romney’s campaign is distancing itself from Mourdock as it tries to close the gender gap and capture the female vote, saying Mourdock’s opinion does not reflect the presidential candidate’s views. But Romney aides have not confirmed whether or not the Massachusetts governor will continue to support Mourdock’s Senate bid.
An ad supporting Mourdock narrated primarily by Romney started running in Indiana this week. The Washington Post reported it appears the ad will continue to air.
But Washington State Sen. Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued a statement Wednesday criticizing Mourdock’s remarks and appealing for the Romney campaign to take down the ad, reported the Courier Journal.
“While Mitt Romney is rightly distancing himself from Richard Mourdock today, his ad endorsing Mourdock’s extreme candidacy continues to air in Indiana. If Mitt Romney is serious about repudiating these heinous views on rape, he will take down this ad immediately.
“National Republicans cannot paper over Richard Mourdock’s heinous views on rape. Enough is enough. The Republican Party needs to stop the coddling and take a stand against the horribly offensive and dangerous views of the tea party and their extreme candidates.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has also created a petition to denounce Mourdock’s Senate bid and his view on rape pregnancies. The petition can be viewed here: https://dscc.org/act4?action_KEY=668.
With just 13 days left, polls showed Mourdock leading by one point. The Post reported it’s unclear how much of an impact Mourdock’s extreme remarks will have on the outcome of the election.