The GOP seems to have a rape problem. Specifically, their candidates can’t seem to stop themselves from talking about it. On Tuesday night Richard Mourdock of Indiana, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, told an audience at a political debate that pregnancy resulting from rape is something that God intended:
“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.”
Mourdock, who has served as Indiana’s State Treasurer since 2007, said does respect those who support abortion, but that he believes abortion should be limited to cases when the life of the mother is at risk.
Mourdock’s remarks are the latest in a series of controversial statements made by Republican lawmakers about rape. In August, Missouri Rep. Todd Akin appeared to imply in a TV interview that victims of “legitimate” rape would somehow biologically prevent themselves from becoming pregnant.
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Earlier this month Roger Rivard, a state representative in Wisconsin, said his father has always warned him that “some girls rape easy” — hastily explaining that what he meant was that some girls consent to sex and then accuse the male of rape. Rivard later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his remarks were taken out of context and that he meant to use it to illustrate the dangers of premarital sex.
On all three occasions the Romney campaign has taken steps to distance itself from these public blunders. A spokesperson for the campaign, Andrea Saul, announced in response to Mourdock’s speech on Tuesday that the Republican presidential candidate “disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views” writes the Huffington Post. However Romney’s position is particularly delicate in this case as the GOP Presidential candidate had recently endorsed Mourdock in a web video.
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“I think rape is a heinous and violent crime in every instance,” said Mourdock’s opponent, Democratic representative Joe Donnelly, after the debate, according to the New York Times. Donnelly explained that the God he believes in would never intend for rape to happen. “What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape.” (It’s worth noting that all three candidates at the Indiana debate on Tuesday night — Mourdock, Donnelly and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning — oppose abortion.)
In the wake of public outrage, Mourdock issued a brief statement to clarify his comments. “God creates life, and that was my point,” the statement said, according to Huffington Post. “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.”