Thu October 25, 2012
Anti-Abortion Advocates Defend Mourdock, Pro-Life Views
Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock has ignited a national firestorm for his abortion comments this week, but pro-life activists are coming to the GOP nominees defense and see the remarks as a chance to explain their views.
Democrats and Republicans have pounced on Mourdock after he said that pregnancies resulting from rape should not be an exception to an abortion ban because it is the will of God. At a press conference Wednesday, Mourdock stood by his position, but he explained that he abhors rape and apologized if anyone "came away with the wrong impression" from his statement.
Anti-abortion activist Rebecca Kiessling is a spokeswoman for Personhood USA. She says pro-life voters are are proud that Mourdock stood up for life against abortion even in cases of rape, and that critics are deliberately exaggerating his comments to score political points.
"Of course he was saying that the life of the child conceived in rape was created by God. And I believe that he’s in line with the overwhelming majority of Americans and Hoosiers who understand that God is the author of life," he says.
Immediately after the Senate debate, observers and supporters argued that Mourdock was emphasizing God blessing the life of the unborn child rather than the sexual assault. As Kiessling told WFPL in a telephone interview, human beings have free will to make bad choices and cruel decision, but that God can create "beauty from ashes."
Mourdock, however, struggled to effectively articulate that point even during his press conference a day later, where he was grilled by reporters to explain his theological reasoning. Now the political fallout of Mourdock's remarks have highlighted the divisions among conservatives on abortion exemptions as Election Day approaches.
While many point out that Democrats are taking advantage of the comments, several anti-abortion Republicans—most notably Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney—have either distanced themselves or called on Mourdock to apologize.
Sen. John McCain, R-Az, who is anti-abortion and campaigned for Mourdock earlier this month, says he will withdraw his support unless Mourdock apologizes.
(Update: McCain's spokesman issued a clarification Thursday on the senator's statement. (“Senator McCain was traveling yesterday in Florida and did not have an opportunity to see Mr. Mourdock’s full press conference before he taped his CNN interview. Senator McCain is glad that Mr. Mourdock apologized to the people of Indiana and clarified his previous statement. Senator McCain hopes the people of Indiana will elect Mr. Mourdock to the U.S. Senate.”)
But others have stood by Mourdock, namely Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called it irresponsible and partisan for anyone to compare Mourdock’s views to defending rape.
Still, pro-life leaders who are adamant that an unborn child should not be aborted due to sexual assault, and believe that it is an innocent life argue Mourdock has taken a bold step.
Indiana Right to Life Chairman Mike Fichter says Mourdock showed Hoosiers he will stand up for all innocent, human life if elected, which could help him in the socially conservative state.
"Rape is a vile act, committed in evil. When a pregnancy results out of this horrific crime, every bit of care and love must be shown to the victim," Fichter continued. "Only God can know the purpose for all human life whether conceived in rape, an unplanned pregnancy or planned circumstances."
Mourdock supporters have also pointed out that his Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly, who is also pro-life, voted for the controversial "forcible rape" bill last year.
But if we're going to treat this logically, we should note that Rep. Joe Donnelly, the conservative Democrat challenging Mourdock, co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act of 2011. That was the bill that, in initial drafts, created a distinction between "rape" and "forcible rape."
You've got a Republican candidate who believes that life starts at conception and won't make allowances for abortion, and a Democrat who believes that life starts at conception.
A Donnelly campaign spokesperson said the congressman refused tovote for the bill until that language was taken out. The campaign did not respond to repeated requests by WFPL to clarify if Donnelly supports overturning Roe v. Wade, however.