Pregnancy from rape is 'God's will'
A Republican US senate candidate has said pregnancy caused by rape is something "God intended" and not a situation that justifies an abortion.
Indiana candidate Richard Mourdock’s comment came in response to a question toward the end of a debate last night with his opponents, Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning. It comes amid a tight race and less than two weeks before the election.
"I've struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God," said Mourdock,.
"And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Mr Mourdock, described his position on abortion as believing that "life begins at conception,".
Mr Mourdock (61), has the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. However a Romney spokeswoman said the presidential nominee "disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views".
Mr Mourdock made his remark two months after Missouri Senate Republican candidate Todd Akin said that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancy.
Mr Akin later apologised while rejecting calls from fellow Republicans to withdraw from the Missouri race.
The Indiana contest is among the most closely watched in the US Senate, along with races in Massachusetts, Missouri and Virginia.
Republicans must hold all five of their competitive seats in the November 6th election and pick up four seats to win control of the Senate.
A Tea Party favourite, Mr Mourdock, defeated six-term Republican incumbent Richard Lugar by 20 percentage points in a May primary with an anti-tax, anti-Washington message.
During last night's debate in New Albany, Indiana, Mr Mourdock said he knows that some people disagree with his abortion stance and that he respects their point of view.
"The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother," he said.
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, assailed Mr Mourdock's remark. "Richard Mourdock's rape comments are outrageous and demeaning to women," she said.
"Unfortunately, they've become part and parcel of the modern Republican party's platform toward women's health."