In a debate on Tuesday night, Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that raped women should not be permitted access to an abortion, because the pregnancy is a “gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape.”
A top Republican has already jumped to Mourdock’s defense. National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chair Sen. John Cornyn (TX), the Republican tasked with overseeing the GOP’s Senate elections strategy, immediately defended Mourdock in a statement on Wednesday morning:
“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.”Two months ago, the NRSC disavowed Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin after he claimed “legitimate rape” does not lead to pregnancy. Cornyn was one of the first Republicans to condemn Akin, calling for him to exit. “Congressman Akin’s statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible,” Cornyn said. “I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service.” However, weeks later, the NRSC quietly considered reentering the Missouri race. Cornyn said, “we hope Todd Akin wins in November.”
Mourdock, part of a growing number of Republicans hoping to deny abortion access to women, received a high-level endorsement from Mitt Romney earlier this week.