UPDATE: Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Indiana, said on Wednesday he stood by controversial comments he made during a debate in which he said that pregnancy resulting from rape can be "something that God intended to happen."
Mourdock said he "spoke from the heart" during the debate and that his comments had been "twisted" by people. He apologized, however, for any misinterpretation of his statement.
"I absolutely abhor violence. I abhor any kind of sexual violence," he said at a news conference on Wednesday. "I am absolutely confident that the God I worship abhors violence."
The controversial comments came during Tuesday's U.S. Senate campaign debate in New Albany, Indiana, between Mourdock, Democrat Joe Donnelly and Libertarian Andrew Horning.
"The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother," Mourdock said at the time. "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen."
Mourdock issued a statement after the debate that said: "God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick."
A September Howey-DePauw poll put Donnelly up by 2 percentage points over Mourdock, 40 to 38 percent, with 7 percent for Horning.