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Mourdock Could Still Win

2:22 PM, Nov 4, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Hoosiers likely recognize that, despite the media’s best efforts to draw comparisons, Mourdock’s comments about abortion and rape are not similar to what Akin said in Missouri. Mourdock holds perhaps an unpopular position on abortion—most Republicans, and most Americans, believe abortion should be legal in cases of rape. But Mourdock offered a reasonable, logical defense: If all life begins at conception, then that includes babies conceived by rape, and so those lives ought to receive protection. And furthermore, if God creates all life, that includes life created as a result of rape. What God “intended,” in Mourdock’s words, was the life, not the rape.

Akin, on the other hand, was espousing an unreasoned, unscientific myth that rape cannot, biologically, result in pregnancy—that women’s bodies “have a way of shutting that whole thing down.” This is an unproven claim that has no grounding in science. The similarities between these sentiments and Mourdock’s are superficial; both have broadly to do with rape and pregnancy, but share nothing else in common.

In this regard, though, Donnelly and Democrats may have overplayed their hand. A Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee TV ad running in Indiana replays Mourdock’s comments before a voiceover paraphrases them as, “God intended that a woman be raped and become pregnant.” And Donnelly himself said in a statement that Mourdock believes God intends for rape to happen to women. It’s a pretty uncharitable interpretation of Mourdock’s statement, and it could end up backfiring. 

(It’s worth noting, too, that even Todd Akin isn’t Todd Akin. Like Mourdock, Akin could end up winning his race against Democrat Claire McCaskill. He’s 5 points down, according to Real Clear Politics, which means he, too, may still have chance to win his race.) 

At this point, Donnelly leads the race in Indiana, but it's still a toss-up. That’s not a position of strength for Mourdock, but it doesn’t mean he’s bound to lose, either.

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