Will Mourdock's Rape Comments Sink the GOP?

Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said in a debate that he thinks pregnancy from rape is "God's intent."

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Democrats are once again pouncing on a Republican senatorial candidate for comments made about rape and abortion. Indiana State Treasurer and Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said in a debate Tuesday that pregnancy from rape was "God's intent."

Mourdock was explaining why he does not believe in an exception to abortion in the case of rape and how he has personally had difficulty with his views on the issue:

The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

Mourdock's comments were quickly decried by Democrats across the country, bringing him similar attention as that drawn by Rep. Todd Akin earlier this year when the Missouri Senate candidate said women's bodies had a way of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." Despite calls from the Republican Party, Akin refused to drop out of his race.

Following Akin's comments, the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn of Texas called for the Missouri representative to rethink his candidacy. But Wednesday Cornyn released a statement in support of Mourdock, saying that the Republican's view on abortion is the same as that Mourdock's Democratic rival Rep. Joe Donnelly:

Richard and I, along with millions of Americans—including even Joe Donnelly—believe that life is a gift from God. To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Will the New Focus on Abortion Help Democrats in the 2012 Election?]

After Democrats seized Mourdock's comment as a wider effort to prove the Republican Party has been waging a "war on women," Mourdock issued a statement of clarification saying, "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."

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney quickly distanced himself from Mourdock's statement on Tuesday, with his campaign saying, "Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views." The campaign declined to say whether or not a television ad that began airing Monday and featured Romney supporting Mourdock would be pulled in Indiana.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

U.S. News's Susan Milligan says that Mourdock's remarks are particularly potent in this election year, as campaigns focus on courting women voters. Both parties have been vying for the constituency, and comments such as these show the GOP is "out of touch" with 21st century women. Milligan said the problem doesn't lie so much in Mourdock's pro-life stance, but rather with the way he phrased his statement:

It's unimaginable that Mourdock doesn't feel compassion for a woman who is raped; that's not his problem here. His problem is that he talked about such women as though their lives matter not at all once another life is growing inside them. A lot of women oppose abortion, and even women who are pro-choice might vote for someone who disagrees with them on the issue, especially if other issues are paramount. But they are less tolerant of being insulted.

What do you think? Will Richard Mourdock's comments on God and rape sink the GOP? Take the poll and comment below.

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Will Richard Mourdock's Comments on God and Rape Sink the GOP?

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