Ind. residents react to Mourdock comments on abortion
October 24, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Comments by a Republican candidate in the race for U.S. Senate in Indiana have propelled the issue of rape and abortion into the presidential race.
In a debate Tuesday night, GOP candidate Richard Mourdock said pregnancies resulting from rape are something God intended.
And with that, the political establishment reacted. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney distanced himself from Mourdock's comments, but maintained his support for the Senate candidate.
On Wednesday morning, Mourdock sought to clarify his remarks.
"If they came away with any impression other than that I truly regret it. I apologize if they came away. I've certainly been humbled by the fact that so many people think that somehow was an interpretation," Mourdock said. "I spoke from my heart. And speaking from my heart, speaking from the deepest level of my faith, I would not apologize. I would be less than faithful if I said anything other than life is precious, I believe it's a gift from God."
But Mourdock's Democratic opponent, Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly, who is also pro-life, asserted Indiana voters won't accept an apology for simply saying something inartfully.
"When you say in regard to rape that pregnancy from rape is God's intention that it will happen, I just think that's hurtful and insulting to women, to rape survivors and to the families," said Donnelly.
With tea party support, Mourdock won a hotly-contested primary over long-time GOP Senator Richard Lugar. Money from super PACs on both sides has flooded into the state -- including from Chicago.
"Human life begins at the moment of conception and it ends at the point of natural death. And that has always been our position, it will always be our position and that is Richard Mourdock's position," said Paul Caprio, director, Family PAC Federal.
"I really think women are watching candidates in this election," said Carole Brite, Planned Parenthood . "Politicians need to get out of exam rooms and focus on righting this economy and creating jobs."
And so the lines are drawn. Hoosiers feel they're even more in the spotlight and are forthright about how rape and abortion could influence in the race.
"What changes here, of course, is the government coming in to tell you what to do or not to do with your body ... That's offensive to voters," said Joyce Webster, chairman, Porter, Ind., County Republican Party.
"To me, it sounds like he's saying she is allowed to be raped and it is OK, which it is not in any form," said Kelly Eryman, Portage, Ind.
This is the latest rape comment by a Republican candidate for national office. This summer Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin sought to define something called legitimate rape. And last week Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh of the 8th District asserted medicine has advanced to the point where pregnancy won't kill a woman, and thus abortion is unnecessary.
To be clear, the Romney campaign says it doesn't agree with Mourdock, but that ad has not been taken off the air.
indiana news, ravi baichwal
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