October 24, 2012 — Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R) is drawing criticism for stating on Tuesday that pregnancy resulting from rape can be "something that God intended to happen," the Washington Post's "The Fix" reports (Blake, "The Fix," Washington Post, 10/23).
Mourdock, Indiana's treasurer, made the comment in response to a debate question about whether abortion should be permitted in cases of rape and incest (LoBianco, AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/23).
Mourdock said he believes abortion should be illegal except to save a woman's life (Guyett, Reuters, 10/24).
He continued, "I struggled with it 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 it is something that God intended to happen" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/23).
After the debate, Murdock issued a statement that attempted to clarify his remarks. "God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does," he said, adding that "to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick" (Reuters, 10/24).
Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), one of Mourdock's opponents in the Senate race, criticized the remarks after the debate. "I think rape is a heinous and violent crime in every instance," he said, adding, "The God I believe in … does not intend for rape to happen -- ever." Donnelly also opposes abortion rights, according to the New York Times' "The Caucus."
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, called Mourdock's statement "outrageous and demeaning to women" (Weisman, "The Caucus," New York Times, 10/23).
The Indiana Democratic Party and the National Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee compared the comments to Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) statement that "legitimate rape" does not result in pregnancy (Raju, "On Congress," Politico, 10/23).
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which moved to cut funding for Akin after his remarks, said that Mourdock's comments were different and pledged to "stand by him."
By contrast, the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney moved to distance itself from Mourdock. "Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views," Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement (Joseph, "Hill Tube," The Hill, 10/23).