KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mourdock Rape Comment Roils Indiana Senate Race, Reignites Furor Over Women’s Health Issues

The statement by Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, linking God's will to pregnancy resulting from rape, has spurred strong reactions from campaigns across the country - including the presidential candidates.

The Washington Post: Mourdock Rape Comment Adds To Election-Year Furor Over Social Issues
A GOP Indiana Senate candidate’s assertion that pregnancy resulting from rape is “something God intended to happen” ignited a controversy that spilled into the presidential race on Wednesday as Democrats renewed the charge that Republicans are waging a "war on women" (Tumulty, 10/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Indiana GOP Candidate Sparks New Fight Over Abortion
The remark prompted some Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to distance themselves from the debate statement. ... President Barack Obama's campaign noted Mr. Romney taped an advertisement endorsing Mr. Mourdock that has been airing recently in Indiana. ... Debates over abortion, and whether it should be allowed in cases of rape or when pregnancy threatens a woman's health, have featured prominently in this election (Radnofsky, 10/24).

Los Angeles Times: Democrats Seize On Candidate's Pregnancy, Rape Comments
The sudden flare-up not only pushed abortion back into the center of the white-hot presidential race, but also gave Democrats renewed hope of retaining control of the Senate. Recent polls have found Mourdock and his Democratic opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly, locked in a tight battle for the seat long held by GOP stalwart Richard G. Lugar. ... The Romney campaign said the candidate did not share Mourdock's views on abortion, but declined to pull his endorsement ad off the airwaves (Geiger, 10/25).

Politico: Exclusive: Richard Mourdock Braces For Fallout
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, came to Mourdock’s defense Wednesday morning. “Richard and I, along with millions of Americans — including even Joe Donnelly — believe that life is a gift from God,” Cornyn said. ... Cornyn added: “But this election is about big ideas and the reality that our country is going in the wrong direction" (Raju, 10/24).

The Hill: Obama Campaign Hits Romney-Mourdock Ties To Sway Female Voters
Democrats have been eager to capitalize on the confusion. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Tuesday that Mourdock's opposition to abortion in cases of rape is "part and parcel of the Republican Party's platform toward women's health" (Viebeck, 10/24).

The Hill: Mourdock Says Dems Have 'Twisted' His Words On Rape, Abortion
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mourdock repeated his position on abortion and said he abhorred rape. "I believe life is precious," Mourdock said. "But certainly I did not meant to suggest that God wants rape, that God pushes people to rape, that God wants to support or condone evil in any way." He added, "I want to assure every woman who hears this and who reads the stories of this and I abhor [rape] and that God abhors it" (Viebeck, 10/24).

Bloomberg: Democrats Seize on Indiana Republican’s Rape Comment
Obama’s re-election campaign has aired ads saying Romney would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide. Romney’s campaign, which wants to focus on the economy, is running an ad in some Virginia markets featuring a woman who says Romney “doesn’t oppose contraception at all” and “thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother’s life" (Hunter and Bykowicz, 10/25). 
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