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Republicans' Shocking Positions on Rape and Pregnancy Aren't Outliers -- They're Central to the GOP Agenda

With the takeover of the G.O.P by the religious right, Mourdock's position on abortion, rape and incest is in line with the party platform -- and echoed by top party leaders, including Paul Ryan.

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In September, I reported Perkins’ assertion of FRC’s close relationship with Romney, whose campaign he called the most cooperative he had ever dealt with. The support of the evangelicals represented by FRC is seen as critical to Romney’s fortunes in November; to throw Mourdock under the bus would be to severely jeopardize Romney’s support among a crucial constituency.

Much of Romney’s ground game, as I have reported, is in the hands of Ralph Reed, through the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a church-targeting get-out-the-vote operation.

Romney’s endorsers

When he finally won his party’s nomination, Romney proudly accepted endorsements from his former rivals: Texas Gov. Rick Santorum, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Ga., and former U.S. senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania -- all of whom signed a pledge demanded by PersonhoodUSA that declared a no-exceptions policy on abortion. Were Romney to pull his ad in support of Mourdock, would he retain the endorsements of the also-rans, particularly Bachmann -- who announced her endorsement with Romney at her side -- or Santorum, who nearly bested Romney in the primaries?

Tell me where the daylight is between Mourdock’s position and those of Bachmann and Santorum. Here’s Santorum via the New York Times, from August 2011:

“To put rape or incest victims through another trauma of an abortion, I think is too much to ask.”

Here’s Bachmann during the June 2011 Republican presidential debate in Manchester, N.H.:

Q: [to Bachmann]: Gov. Pawlenty says he opposes abortion rights except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is at stake. Do you have any problem with that position?

BACHMANN: I am 100 percent pro-life. I've given birth to five babies, an I've taken 23 foster children into my home. I believe in the dignity of life from conception until natural death. I believe in the sanctity of human life. Our Declaration of Independence said it's a creator who endowed us with inalienable rights given to us from God, not from government. And the first of those rights is life. And I stand for that right. I stand for the right to life. The very few cases that deal with those exceptions are the very tiniest of fraction of cases, and yet they get all the attention. Where all of the firepower is, is on the genuine issue of taking an innocent human life.

The rape-baby Senate candidates

Then there are those Senate candidates. Here we offer you some choice quotes from news reports and the Republican Senate candidates themselves.

Josh Mandel, Ohio

In a spot interview by Marc Kovac of Ohio Capital Blog conducted the day after Mourdock made his infamous comments, Mandel, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, confirmed his no-exceptions anti-abortion position. While Mandel declined to comment on the Mourdock statement, he did offer this:

KOVAC: But it’s true that you do not have an exception when it comes to abortion. You’re pro-life in all cases--

MANDEL: I think it’s important to protect the life of the mother, and I’m proud to be pro-life.

KOVAC: Even in the possibility of rape?

[MANDEL DOESN’T SPEAK, BUT NODS]

Very clever, don't you think, the way Mandel avoids being quoted by bobbing his head up and down on the rape question?

Pete Hoekstra, Michigan

Asked to respond to remarks by Missouri Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin that women’s bodies “shut down” the process of conception during a “legitimate rape”, Hoestra, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the Detroit News reported:

But Hoekstra spokesman Greg VanWoerkom said Hoekstra rejects Akin's remarks, describing them as being in "poor taste."

He then accused Stabenow of trying to raise money off the controversy. Hoekstra is against abortion in cases of rape and incest, but makes an exception for the life of the mother, VanWoerkom said.

Democrats note Hoekstra has sponsored several congressional "personhood" bills to ban abortions and outlaw some forms of birth control.