The Obama campaign said the president found Mourdock’s comments “outrageous and demeaning to women,” and it contended they were “a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican President Mitt Romney would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care.”
Said spokeswoman Jen Psaki of Romney: “It is perplexing that he wouldn’t demand to have that ad taken down.”
On Tuesday night, Mourdock was asked during the closing minutes of a debate with Donnelly whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.
“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that 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,” Mourdock said.
At a news conference yesterday, the state treasurer stood by his statement but suggested he had been misunderstood.
“I think that God can see beauty in every life,” Mourdock said. “Certainly, I did not intend to suggest that God wants rape, that God pushes people to rape, that God wants to support or condone evil in any way.”
Another tea party-backed candidate, Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., said last week that medical advances mean women no longer die in pregnancies and the exceptions for abortion are unnecessary. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called that comment inaccurate since “pregnancy is not a risk-free life event.” The organization said more than 600 women die each year from pregnancy or childbirth-related reasons.
As for Mourdock, the National Republican Senatorial Committee stood by its candidate and argued that his words were being taken out of context.
“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,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, chairman of the committee.