Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock sparked another abortion and rape controversy Tuesday, causing GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is now in a tight battle for the White House, to distance himself from the Indiana politician.
Mourdock’s controversial statements on the touchy issue came during his final Senate debate and quickly became a hot topic on the Internet. During the event, Mourdock and candidates Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, and Andrew Horning, a libertarian, were asked about abortion.
Mourdock said it’s his belief life begins at conception and that pregnancy from rape is God’s intention.
“I struggled with it myself a long time, but I came to realize that life is a gift from God, that I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said.
That was enough to get Mourdock, Indiana’s state treasurer, trending on Twitter with some users hitting back at the candidate, calling him Indiana’s own Todd Akin. Akin is a Republican from Missouri who, in the summer, said women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.
While Akin was forsaken by the National Republican Senatorial Committee after his August remarks, the committee hasn't been so quick to cast off Mourdock. Its Executive Director Rob Jesmer told the Hill on Tuesday that “it’d be patently ridiculous not to stand by him.”
“What he said, and millions of people believe, is life is a gift from God,” Jesmer said. “That is something a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats believe. Most pro-life people believe life is a gift.”
But the Romney campaign was as quick to widen the space between itself and Mourdock as it was with Akin. Romney had endorsed Mourdock for the Senate. However, campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Hill that the presidential candidate disagrees with Mourdock’s statements.
“They do not reflect his views,” she said.