Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is trying to distance himself from comments made by Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who said, during a debate, that pregnancy resulting from rape was “something God intended.”
During the debate in Indiana Tuesday night, where Mourdock was up against Democratic Congressman Joe Donnelly, he said: “I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”
In post-debate comments, Mourdock, who is backed by the Tea Party, stuck to his original comments, saying that women should only be allowed abortions if their life is in danger. He did, however, say that God does not want people to be raped.
“God creates life. We don’t make life in a machine. God creates all life. Does God want people raped? Of course not,” Mourdock said.
The comments come shortly after Romney released a video endorsing Mourdock, whose seat is seen as key to winning the balance of power. “This fall, I’m endorsing Richard Mourdock for Senate,” Romney says in the ad. “With so much at stake, I hope you’ll join me in supporting Richard Mourdock for Senate.”
Soon after Tuesday’s debate, Republican spokesperson Andrea Saul tried to distance Romney from the comments. In a statement released to CBS News she said: “Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views.”
This isn’t the first time the Republican camp has dealt with candidates speaking their views on rape and abortion. Notably, Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin told television station KTVI-TV earlier this year that pregnancies from rape were rare. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said.
After Akin’s comments the Republicans released a statement distancing the presidential and vice-presidential candidates from Akin’s views. “Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” said the statement.
Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for the Republicans to pull Romney’s Mourdock endorsement ad off the air. Speaking to USA Today, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Mourdock’s comments were “outrageous and demeaning to women” and she said the ad had to go.