GOP's Mourdock: "God Intended" Pregnancy From Rape

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 24 2012 9:17 AM

GOP Senate Candidate Suggests Pregnancy From Rape Is "Something That God Intended"

Mitt Romney and U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock (R) greet supporters at a campaign event at Stepto's Bar B Q Shack on Aug. 4, 2012, in Evansville, Ind.
Mitt Romney and U.S. Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock (R) greet supporters at a campaign event at Stepto's Bar B Q Shack on Aug. 4, 2012, in Evansville, Ind.

Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Mitt Romney has done his best to make this election squarely about the economy, but several of the Republican men running further down the ticket have continued to make that an increasingly difficult proposition for him.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The latest GOP candidate to cause headaches for Romney is Richard Mourdock, a Senate hopeful in Indiana, who suggested during a debate last night that pregnancies that result from rape are "something that God intended to happen." Democrats wasted little time seizing on the remarks and before the night was over the Romney camp had released a somewhat murky statement saying that he disagrees with the Indiana Republican. By morning, Democrats were up with a rapid response Web video tying Romney to Mourdock and his controversial remarks.


Here was Mourdock's full quote that came while explaining his stance that abortions should be illegal in all instances except those where the mother's life is in danger:

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize 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."

That comment prompted a cascade of statements and responses both in the Indiana race and nationally. First up was Mourdock's main opponent, Joe Donnelly, a Democratic congressman who is strongly anti-abortion himself (and, we should note, a co-sponsor of the 2011 bill that, in initial drafts, created a distinction between "rape" and "forcible rape"):

"I think rape is a heinous and violent crime in every instance. 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."

That prompted a clarification from Mourdock stressing that he did not believe that rape was something that God wanted to occur:

"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."

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also got in on the action, pointing to a recent advertisement that Romney cut on Mourdock's behalf:

“Richard Mourdock’s rape comments are outrageous and demeaning to women. Unfortunately, they’ve become part and parcel of the modern Republican Party’s platform toward women’s health, as Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan have worked to outlaw all abortions and even narrow the definition of rape. As Mourdock’s most prominent booster and the star of Mourdock’s current campaign ads, Mitt Romney should immediately denounce these comments and request that the ad featuring him speaking directly to camera on Mourdock’s behalf be taken off the air.”

And, finally, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul weighed in with a short statement of her own: "Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views." She did not, however, respond when asked whether Romney still supports Mourdock.

It's been only about 12 hours since last night's Indiana debate, so it's obviously still unclear whether Mourdock's comments will do the type of damage that Missouri GOP Senate hopeful Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" remarks did—but perhaps they shouldn't, as Slate's Dave Weigel explained last night:

"Akin's comment posited that the female body had hormonal powers that 'shut down' the conception process during stressful sex. That's junk science. Mourdock's comment is a perfectly coherent pro-life statement. If you think life starts at conception, well, then, it starts at conception."

Here's the clip from last night's debate:

And the ad Romney cut for Mourdock:

And proving how fast these things move, the rapid response Web video from Democrats:



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 2 2014 1:05 PM What's Wrong With "America's Ugliest Accent"
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Oct. 2 2014 1:09 PM Are You Enjoying a Picnic on a Dumpsite?
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 1:22 PM If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would You Notice? What cyranoid experiments reveal about how people act.  
  Health & Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?