October 24th, 2012
11:11 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama on Mourdock: Male politicians shouldn't make abortion decisions

(CNN) – The most recent controversial comment from a male politician on the subject of rape and abortion had President Barack Obama incredulous Wednesday during an appearance on Jay Leno's late-night talk show.

"I don't know how these guys come up with these ideas," Obama told Leno. "Let me make a very simple proposition. Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don't make too much sense to me, don't make any sense to me."

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Obama's comments were sparked by the assertion from Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock that pregnancies occurring after a rape were intended by God.

The Republican candidate was explaining his opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest when he made the remark, saying that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen."

Mourdock's comments came after a pair of similarly themed comments from fellow Republican candidates. In August, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, also running for Senate, ignited a firestorm when he said "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy.

And Rep. Joe Walsh, another tea party-backed Republican running for re-election in Illinois, questioned last week the necessity of allowing abortions if a mother's life is at risk, saying such an exemption to an abortion ban was simply a tool by pro-choice activists.

Obama said the string of maligned abortion comments from Republicans was a sign they should remove themselves from the conversation.

"This is exactly why you don't want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women's health care decisions," Obama said. "Women are capable of making these decisions in consultation with their partners, with their doctors, and for politicians to want to intrude in this stuff often times without any information is a huge problem."

The president went on the frame the issue politically, saying the next president would have the opportunity to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, which could potentially hear a challenge to Roe v. Wade. Mitt Romney, Obama's Republican challenger, has said that he would appoint justices to the court that would support overturning the 1973 decision affirming a woman's right to have an abortion.

"Roe vs. Wade is probably hanging in the balance," Obama said.

Obama also weighed in on Donald Trump's offer from earlier in the day, which stipulated the businessman and reality television star would offer $5 million to the charity of Obama's choice in exchange for the president releasing his college records and passport applications.

Asked what was going on between himself and Trump, Obama joked that it "all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya," a jab at Trump's constant questioning of his birthplace in Hawaii.

"We had constant run-ins on the soccer field, and he wasn't very good and resented it. I thought it would be over when we got to America," Obama joked, adding he has never met Trump.

Obama also weighed in on lighter topics, such as his World Series bet ("I didn't want to let Detroit go bankrupt. So in this particular series, I may be a little partial.") and his last time behind the wheel (in a Chevy Volt on the South Lawn).

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Filed under: 2012 • Abortion • President Obama
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. BDChild

    abortion???? Obama should drive carefully...

    October 25, 2012 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  2. Rosalina Obando

    Rape is Rape. A Crime Against Us Women!!!!

    October 25, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  3. tammyk tammy

    Why do we bother having any medical procedures at all if everything is God's will? If a child is born with a cleft palate or a heart defect, then by the standards espoused by these teabaggers, that is God's will and we should just allow the child to die without any human intervention, right? Is it also God's will that unplanned pregnancies create overpopulation and lead to higher rates in poverty and crime? Just look at the orphanges full of unwanted children in the third world countries where women don't have family planning choices. Our dogs and cats are capable of having multiple litters per year, but we recognized long ago this creates overpopulation of animals that then have to be killed. Is that also God's will? Are we not then thwarting God's will when we spay or neuter our pets?

    October 25, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  4. tammyk tammy

    I believe that the freedom of choice is God's will. Did he not give Free Will to every human being? Only God can know what is in a person's heart that leads them to the choices they make and only God can make judgment and forgive our sins. He did not assign politicians, male or female, to make our personal life choices for us.

    October 25, 2012 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  5. RogueRobots

    If Republican males truly want to prevent abortions then they would support birth control, sex education, equal pay, shelters for abused women, healthcare for all, decent wages that reduce poverty, and programs to assist children at risk. They would stop placing all of the stigma on single mothers while allowing males to abdicate their responsibilities for their children. All of these things influence a woman's decision to have an abortion, but Republicans traditionally support none of these factors which might help a woman in deciding to keep the child. These liberal supported programs prevent more abortions than any Repug demonstrators with their dead foetus signs outside of Planned Parenthood. Put your money where your mouth is and fund programs which support women and children if you are truly serious about reducing abortions.

    October 25, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  6. Marry

    Right on, Mr. President!
    President Obama/VP Biden – women’s choice 2012!

    October 25, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  7. LakeRat1

    Pregnancies may be intended by God, but polititions forcing what women do with their bodies, is definately not intended by God!

    October 25, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  8. Marie MD

    Right on Mr. President.
    We women can make our own decisions. We don't need a bunch of right wing old men who think 1059s telling us women what to with our bodies and whether we should use contraceptives.
    These guys just don't get it but the twit is not distancing himself from murdouck because he has been all over the map with his thinking (whatever that might be). He went waaaaaay over to the right during the primaries then he started moving to the center for the independent and "undecided" vote so much so that he NOW agrees with the Presiden'ts policies on everything except rights for women and Obamacare and Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid. Never mind, I guess he is really not that center anymore.

    October 25, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  9. Willie Floyd

    Right on Mr. President!! In your next 4 years maybe you can get your message across to some of these ignorant men in congress.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 25, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  10. LS

    Obama is the voice of sanity! Go vote, ladies!!

    October 25, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  11. DontBelieveIt

    So Obama can level phoney outrage at Romney for "politicizing" the tragedy in Libya that, when he got around to attending to, after jetting off to Vegas & appearing on the Vies, he lied about... but when someone professes their deep-held faith, it gets twisted and politicized by the liberal media, President and all his minions into another Christian-bashing rave in order to feel better about their immoral choices. He can't take the heat for voting FOUR times to deny care to children who have literally survived botched abortion attempts – so kick someone by twisting their words. Mourdock clearly holds the belief that LIFE IS PRECIOUS. GOD DOES NOT "ALLOW" RAPE – MAN was given the gift of FREE WILL. If MAN abuses it – it's MAN's fault & problem. God's original & only intent for intercourse was for procreation. NOT that God "ALLOWS" rape. Get over yourselves & own up to your own immorality before bashing someone who is doing nothing more than standing up for their religion. This is Dan Cathy all over again.

    October 25, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  12. SugarKube

    The economy is the economy.

    October 25, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Obama is so smart these days. "Rape is rape" really now? Didn't know that... What the hell is he doing, first the comment about what an aircraft carrier is and now this. Gosh he's really helping me be better off.

    October 25, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  14. Are you kidding me?

    Very true statement. The GOP is crying that Obamacare will be an intrusion to your health and your decision making BUT they want to ban ALL abortions regardless of the circumstances. As a father of a daughter and a husband I am disgusted with the GOP.

    How could anyone force someone to carry a baby to term from such a horrific event.

    October 25, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  15. reggiemcveggie

    being a Christian is an all in or out proposition. If you believe in God then you have to believe he's all knowing and powerful. Saying God intended something bad to happen might be a stretch but He definetly intended the tragedies to befall Job. If you don't believe that then you're off the hook. But be honest. The guy in Indiana was being honest. Now he's paying for it. Obama is choosing not to be honest. If he's a Christian he can't believe God could not have prevented a rape and subsequent pregnancy. If he's not a Christian he's off the hook, but say you're not a Christian.

    October 25, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  16. reality check

    And the original statement was that rape was a horror. Now why hasn't Obama admitted yet that he LIED about Benghazi? He also joked about Trump but must actually hate poor people since he isn't giving them the opportunity to have $5 million from Trumps wallet!!!

    October 25, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  17. S. Smith

    God doesn't 'cause' things like rape to happen. To suggest that he causes rape to happen for any reason is outrageous. It is an evil act. However, He allows it because He granted men and women agency, the right to choose for themselves, whether it be good or evil. However, He did not grant any choice over the consequences of our actions, especially such a heinous crime as rape. Good luck to every rapist. You know what they say about Karma.

    October 25, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  18. Rob - NYC

    Wow the Republicans are just giving the Senate away. Thanks please keep it coming. There should more comments like these coming from the Republican House candidates too.

    October 25, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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