Pregnancy from rape is ‘something God intended’
US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock stands by his controversial anti-abortion statement that pregnancy resulting from rape is ‘something God intended.
Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock has said that pregnancy caused by rape is something “God intended” and not a situation that justifies an abortion, roiling a tight race less than two weeks before the election.
Mr Mourdock’s comment came in response to a voter-submitted question toward the end of a debate on Tuesday night with his opponents, Democratic US Representative Joe Donnelly and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning.
“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realise that life is that gift from God,” said Mr Mourdock, the state’s treasurer. “And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Republican Richard Mourdock participates in a debate with Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning. Photo: AP
Mr Mourdock, who described his position on abortion as believing that “life begins at conception,” made his remark two months after Missouri Senate Republican candidate Todd Akin said that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.
Mr Akin, a US House member seeking to unseat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, later apologised while rejecting calls from fellow Republicans to withdraw from the Missouri race.
The Indiana contest is among the most closely watched in the US Senate, along with races in Massachusetts, Missouri and Virginia. Republicans must hold all five of their competitive seats in the November 6 election and pick up four seats to win control of the Senate.
A Tea Party favourite, Mr Mourdock, defeated six-term Republican incumbent Richard Lugar by 20 percentage points in a May primary with an anti-tax, anti-Washington message. Mr Mourdock’s general election contest with Mr Donnelly is rated as a toss-up by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
Mr Mourdock, 61, has the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who voiced his support in an ad that began airing on October 22 in Evansville, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.
“Governor Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an e-mail.
During last night’s debate in New Albany, Indiana, Mr Mourdock said he knew that some people disagreed with his abortion stance and that he respected their point of view.
“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother,” he said.
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, assailed Mr Mourdock’s remark.
“Richard Mourdock’s rape comments are outrageous and demeaning to women,” Ms Wasserman Schultz said in a statement posted last night on the DNC website. “Unfortunately, they’ve become part and parcel of the modern Republican Party’s platform toward women’s health.”