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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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Deb Fischer, Nebraska

During a debate with Democratic opponent Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Republican senatorial candidate Deb Fischer articulated a position in line with  Mourdock’s, as reported by the Omaha World-Herald:

"I am pro-life," Fischer declared. She said the only exception she approves of is the life of the mother. She did not include exceptions for incest or rape. Fischer distanced herself from Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial comments about women's bodies being able to reject pregnancy as a result of rape.

Tom Smith, Pennsylvania

Challenging an anti-abortion Democrat in Sen. Bob Casey, Republican candidate Tom Smith opted to one-up his opponent with a bear-your-rapist’s-baby position, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Asked about his stance on abortion during a stop in Harrisburg, Smith said he opposed it in all circumstances, including rape and incest.

He then seemed to equate the trauma of a pregnancy brought about by rape with a woman's deciding to have a child outside marriage.

Smith backtracked under later questioning, saying that the situations were not exactly the same but that "a life is a life, and it needs to be protected."

Ted Cruz, Texas

The ever-crafty Ted Cruz, darling of the Tea Party and the religious right, has managed to avoid having a lot of pro-rape-baby statements floating around out there. However, the Texas Tribune reported Cruz’s position this way:

In their fierce battle for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, Dewhurst and Cruz, the former state solicitor general, both promoted their anti-abortion credentials, saying only when a mother’s life was in jeopardy should a pregnancy be terminated.

A contest for who can be the hardest on rape and incest victims! (Fought to a draw.)

Michael Baumgartner, Washington

Challenging Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell for Washington State’s seat is Michael Baumgartener, who takes up the bishops’ staff on the matter of rape, incest and abortion:

"I am still a Catholic. I still believe life begins at conception. That is consistent with my Catholic beliefs. And I believe we must protect life."

John MacGovern, Vermont

In Vermont’s U.S. Senate contest, the choice is between Sen. Bernie Saunders, a socialist independent, and MacGovern, a Republican right-winger. Slate’s Will Saletan reports:

In Vermont, the state right-to-life committee certified Republican nominee John MacGovern as “ fully pro-life.” When MacGovern was asked whether “ a woman should be forced by the government to give birth to a rapist’s baby,” he answered: “I’ve always in my career and to this day been loyal to the principle of life. I’m pro-life. I’m profoundly pro-life. I’m pro-life to my core.”

John Raese, West Virginia

Incredibly, Republican candidate John Raese, in his race against the anti-abortion Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, uses the fact that he has two daughters to justify his opposition to allowing abortions for girls and women who are impregnated through either rape or incest. From On the Issues:

I am pro-life. I believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death. I have two daughters, and every parent and grandparent who has seen an ultrasound or a sonogram of their child or grandchild already has an inherent problem with abortion. In the womb is where human life is at its most innocent and vulnerable stage, and I will proudly stand against the destruction of innocent human life unless the life of the mother is in jeopardy.

Adele M. Stan is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., who specializes in covering the intersection of religion and politics. She is RH Reality Check's senior Washington correspondent.