“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
After the debate, Mourdock backpeddled somewhat from his on-air statements, saying:
“Are you trying to suggest that somehow I think God ordained or pre-ordained rape? No, I don’t think that anyone could suggest that. That’s a sick, twisted – no, that’s not even close to what I said,” Mourdock said.
“It is a fundamental part of my faith that God gives us life. God determines when life begins,” he said. “I believe in an almighty God who makes those calls. … There are some things in life that are above my pay grade.”
His opponent, also a pro-lifer, Democrat Joe Donnelly criticized Mourdock's extremism.
Donnelly, who opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened, condemned Mourdock’s debate comments.
“Rape is a horrible crisis, an unspeakable crime, and I can’t believe that my God, or any God, would intend it to happen,” he said afterward. "What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape."