INDIANAPOLIS, October 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is under fire for speaking out against abortion even in cases of rape.

“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother,” Mourdock said in a debate on Tuesday night. “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

His opponent, Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly, seized on the last part of the remark to accuse Mourdock of suggesting that God supports rape

Mourdock disavowed this interpretation, saying after the debate, “Anyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that’s not even close to what I said.”

“God creates life, and that was my point,” Mourdock said in a statement.

“Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is to be commended for upholding the humanity of children conceived in rape in yesterday’s candidates debate,” Eric Scheidler, the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told LifeSiteNews.com. “To suggest that in recognizing the humanity of these children, Mourdock is somehow condoning rape is not only offensive to decency and common sense, it betrays the pro-choice movement’s growing desperation.”

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The Democratic Party has framed the 2012 election around an alleged “war on women,” attacking Republicans like Mitt Romney, Todd Akin, and Steve King. 

“Women need a respite from this party’s unconscionable insensitivity,” Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana said in a statement. 

The Romney campaign also distanced itself from Mourdock’s remark. Campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote, “We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him.” 

The Obama campaign’s focus has made abortion the leading issue among undecided women in the 12 swing states and opened a debate over the value of life everywhere.

“Are those criticizing Mourdock trying to suggest that babies conceived in rape are not loved by God?” Scheidler asked. “Are they ready to point their fingers at all those conceived in rape – people like Jesse Jackson Sr.—and say, ‘God didn’t intend for you to have life’?”

The Reverend Jesse Jackson was conceived after his 16-year-old mother had sex with an adult neighbor twice her age.

Activists such as Rebecca Kiessling and Ryan Bomberger have embraced the pro-life cause after learning they were conceived in rape.

Others have learned that their unplanned child after a rape became the horrific event’s only blessing. Rape victim Shauna Prewitt wrote a letter to Todd Akin after he made the headlines for comments opposing abortion for rape, describing her “unimaginable joy” in giving birth to and raising her daughter. 

Scheidler said more and more Americans are beginning to “recognize the humanity of unborn children and the injustice of killing them, whatever the circumstances of their conception.”