(NEW ALBANY, Ind.) -- Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God’s plan, tearfully explaining that he only supports abortions when a mother’s life is in danger.
“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said during Tuesday’s Senate debate, choking up. Mourdock’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest.
After the debate, Mourdock further explained his comment.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Democrats wasted no time linking GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to Mourdock. Earlier this week, Romney personally appeared in a TV ad for the Indiana state treasurer, offering his endorsement.
“Richard Mourdock’s rape comments are outrageous and demeaning to women. Unfortunately, they’ve become part and parcel of the modern Republican Party’s platform toward women’s health, as Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan have worked to outlaw all abortions and even narrow the definition of rape,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.
“As Mourdock’s most prominent booster and the star of Mourdock’s current campaign ads, Mitt Romney should immediately denounce these comments and request that the ad featuring him speaking directly to camera on Mourdock’s behalf be taken off the air,” she added
“Mitt’s man Mourdock apes Akin, reflecting a GOP that is way out of mainstream,” Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted.
Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said during an interview in August that women’s bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called “legitimate rape.” Akin apologized for the comment, but refused to leave the race despite pressure from his own party.
Romney’s campaign distanced itself from Mourdock’s comment.
“Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock’s comments, and they do not reflect his views,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio