NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - The topic of abortion in the case of rape touched off a firestorm of controversy in Missouri's senate race earlier this year and now it looks like one of Indiana's senate candidates may have a controversy of his own.
Half way through the debate Tuesday at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany between the three candidates vying for U.S. Senator Richard Lugar's seat, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock was asked about a woman's right to choose an abortion in the case of rape.
Mourdock said, "I just, I struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
Mourdock's Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly, responded to Mourdock's debate comments by saying it wasn't something, "My God, or any God, would intend that to happen."
When speaking with WAVE 3's Matt McCutcheon after the debate Mourdock said, "What I said was in answering that question from my position of faith I said that I believe that God creates life and I believe that as wholly and as fully as I can believe it. God creates life. "
McCutcheon asked, "So even if that happens in a rape situation you firmly believe that to be true?"
"Yeah, absolutely," responded Mourdock.
Earlier this year, the Missouri senate race between Todd Aiken and Claire McCaskill gained the attention of a lot of the nation when Aiken said he believed a woman's body had ways of preventing pregnancy in the case of "legitimate rape." Aiken's comments called for many from his own party to call for him to drop out of the race. He did not.
Several other topics were discussed during Tuesday night's debate in Indiana, including government debt, farming, social security, gun control, and even same sex marriage.
The one hour debate started with introductory comments from the three candidates.
"Quite simply I'm a geologist, unlikely as it may seem. Five years ago I was asked to join Governor Daniels team and I did my part during those tough days of the financial downturn," Mourdock said.
"They say I vote with the democrats 70% of the time. I vote with the Republicans 60% of the time, but I vote for Hoosiers 100% of the time," Donnelly said.
"What you see is an opportunity to do something that all of us have wanted to do for a long time. You can say no to all of the above and vote for something other than the two party system. That's the option I'm putting on here," Libertarian Andrew Horning said.
The race was in the national spotlight before Tuesday night's comment since the winning candidate will fill long-time Senator Richard "Dick" Lugar's seat. Lugar is a well-known Republican Senator who's been in office since the 1970's.
Lugar, 80, was defeated in the May 2012 Primary in a stunning defeat by Republican challenger Mourdock.
Mourdock won 61 percent of the vote to Lugar's 39 percent.
Recent polls have shown Mourdock and Donnelly neck-in-neck in the race, with Horning fetching about 10 percent of the vote.
When Mourdock was asked if Lugar would be campaigning for him in the final two weeks before election, Mourdock said he would welcome Lugar's support, but didn't anticipate it.
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