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'God Intended' A Pregnancy Caused By Rape, Indiana Candidate Says

Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for Senate in Indiana.
Nick Carey
Reuters /Landov
Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for Senate in Indiana.

After saying during a debate Tuesday night that a pregnancy caused by rape is "something that God intended to happen," the Republican candidate for Senate in Indiana is arguing that it is "twisted" to suggest he thinks God wants some women to be raped.

As The Indianapolis Star reports, "Republican Richard Mourdock ignited a controversy over rape and abortion in Tuesday's final Senate debate that lit up the Internet and prompted GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to disavow his words."

While explaining why he would only support an abortion if the mother's life was in danger, Mourdock said he opposes the abortion of a pregnancy caused by rape because: "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."

After the debate, according to The Associated Press, "Mourdock further explained ... that he did not believe God intended the rape, but that God is the only one who can create life. 'Are you trying to suggest somehow that God preordained rape, no I don't think that,' Mourdock said. 'Anyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that's not even close to what I said.' "

His Democratic opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly, said he doesn't believe "my God, or any God, would intend that to happen."

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul issued a statement saying that the nominee "disagrees with Richard Mourdock's [debate] comments, and they do not reflect his views."

President Obama's campaign quickly linked Mourdock's comment to those earlier this year by Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri. "Mitt's man Mourdock apes Akin in Indiana debate, reflecting a GOP that is way out of mainstream," tweeted David Axelrod, a top adviser to Obama.

Akin said in August that "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Critics said he was implying that some women lie about being raped in order to justify having abortions.

For continuing coverage of the 2012 campaign, see It's All Politics.

Update at 11:47 a.m. ET. Mourdock Clarifies His Comments:

"I believe life is precious; I believe that to the marrow of my bones," Mourdock said during a press conference just moments ago.

He added: "I absolutely abhor violence. I abhor any kind of sexual violence. I abhor rape. And I'm absolutely confident that the God that I worship abhors violence."

Mourdock said that "humility was an important part of his faith." He said that he was a more "humble man" after last night's debate.

"If because of the lack of clarity in my words, that they came away with an impression other those that I stated a moment ago... I truly regret it. I apologize that they came away and I have certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that that somehow was an interpretation," he said.

Mourdock said that his words are being "distorted" and "twisted" and that is what's wrong with Washington.

"The comments have been misunderstood," he said.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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