During the final debate in the Indiana Senate race on Tuesday evening, Republican Richard Mourdock said that pregnancies resulting from rape should not be exempt from an abortion ban because they are the will of God.
During the hour-long debate against Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning, the GOP nominee appeared to fight back tears while answering a question about his stance on abortion and women’s reproductive health issues.
“I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view. But I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of the life of the mother,” said Mourdock. “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from god. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
All three candidates said they were pro-life proponents, but Mourdock’s opponents argued they favor exemptions for rape and incest.
Political observers have said the comments are very similar to Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, who in August said that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy. With just two weeks until Election Day, the race between Mourdock and Donnelly has been a statistical tie in most polls.
The Donnelly campaign has released the following statement from their candidate.
“I think rape is a heinous and violent crime in every instance,” says Donnelly. “The God I believe in and the God I know most Hoosiers believe in, does not intend for rape to happen–ever. What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape.”
In response to the ballooning controversy, Mourdock has responded as well.
“God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick,” he says.