LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - An answer by Republican Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Senate debate Tuesday night continues to be a talking point nationwide.
His words during that debate were: "I just, I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a 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."
In an interview with News 18 Wednesday afternoon, Mourdock made no apologies, but said he wishes he would have phrased it differently.
"Do I wish that I had been more clear and that there was greater clarity? Absolutely," he said.
In a visit to Lafayette's Fairfield Manufacturing facility, the first questions he responded to had nothing to do with manufacturing. Instead it was all about what he said Tuesday.
His words in Lafayette were similar to an earlier Indianapolis press conference.
He remains unapologetic, but teared up when saying his faith grows every day.
"Part of my faith is knowing there's a need for humility. This has been a very humbling 22 hours or whatever it's been now. So again, for those people who misunderstood what I said, I apologize and want to assure women that there is no room in my heart for any kind of violence, any kind of act against them. I'm sorry that anyone construed anything other than what I meant which is life is precious," Mourdock said.
Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly called Mourdock's answer Tuesday night hurtful and insulting. Donnelly responded to Mourdock's comments Wednesday afternoon in front of an Indianapolis domestic violence shelter.
"Let me say that I'm pro-life, but this controversy is not about pro-life," Donnelly said. "It is about Mr. Mourdock's words and his continuation of extreme positions."
Donnelly pointed out that both Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Pence distanced themselves from Mourdock's words.
"When you say, in regards to rape, that a pregnancy from rape is God's intention that it will happen, I just think that's hurtful and insulting to women, to rape survivors and to the families," Donnelly said.
Before the Lafayette trip, Mourdock spoke with Rebecca Kiessling, the keynote speaker at Tuesday's Tippecanoe County Right to Life Annual Banquet.
"There's nothing wrong with his position," she said. "He would be a hero to children like me who are conceived in rape."
Kiessling is an attorney and spokesperson for Personhood USA. She found out at age 19 that if abortion had been legal at the time, her mother would have aborted her. She had been adopted after being conceived when her mother was abducted by a serial rapist.
Using data from a 1996 study, Kiessling said there may be 32,000 rape-related pregnancies every year. She added, according to the Elliot Institute, an organization that studies abortion and sexual attitudes, in about 50 percent of rape/pregnancy cases, the mother raises the child. In about 25 percent, the child is given up for adoption while and the other 25 percent conceived are aborted.
"I think people don't realize there are that many whose lives are being devalued by people who would suggest that they weren't worthy of protection," Kiessling said. "I think (Mourdock's) comment is being manipulated by others."
Mourdock told News 18, knowing what he meant to say Tuesday, he can't believe what he said created such controversy.
"If you watch the videotape, I think my meaning is pretty clear," he said. "When you read the text of it, it sounds, less clear."
"Life is a 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."
In the end, the voters will decide.
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