INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Wednesday that he is standing by his statement that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape "that's something God intended." He says some people have twisted the meaning of his comment.
Mourdock said in a news conference that he abhors any sexual violence and regrets it if his comment during a debate Tuesday night left another impression. He said he firmly believes all life is precious and that he abhors violence of any kind.
"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," Mourdock said
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other Republicans have distanced themselves from Mourdock's stance.
Mourdock, who has been locked in one of the country's most expensive and closely watched Senate races, was asked during the final minutes of a debate Tuesday night 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.
Mourdock maintained at the news conference that he was 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."
Mourdock became the second GOP Senate candidate to find himself on the defensive over comments about rape and pregnancy. Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said in August that women's bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." Since his comment, Akin has repeatedly apologized but has refused to leave his race despite calls to do so by leaders of his own party, including GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.