‘God Intended’ Pregnancy After Rape, Says Romney’s Candidate

What should you do when one of your leaders makes a controversial statement? Mitt Romney faces that question after a candidate he is very publicly supporting said “God intended” pregnancy after rape.

‘God Intended’ pregnancy after rape, says Mourdock during a political debateOne day after a television ad featuring GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s endorsement of him began to air, Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock publicly said that when a woman becomes pregnant after a rape, “that’s something God intended.”

This puts Romney in a now-familiar bind—needing to do damage control after one of his allies goes public with a statement that many people find offensive. (The first was the Todd Akin comment that women who are raped rarely get pregnant.) It’s a situation corporate leaders also have faced, and it can impact everything from share price to employee engagement.

Here’s what happened this time. At a debate Tuesday night, when asked about whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, Mourdock said: “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Social-media response was immediate and unforgiving. Romney’s campaign had to act quickly, since this pronouncement came so soon after Romney’s ad supporting Mourdock.

“There’s so much at stake. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate,” Romney says in the spot, paid for by the Mourdock campaign.

After Mourdock’s comment, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul issued a terse statement saying Mourdock’s comments “do not reflect” Romney’s views. But the Romney campaign has not yet pulled the ad. Watch it below.

Corporate Lessons

In 1996, when Texaco executives were caught on tape making racist remarks, the company’s stock price plummeted by double digits in one day, it had to pay $140 million in a discrimination lawsuit—and its reputation has never recovered.

More recently, documents in another discrimination lawsuit reveal that the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch demands that his all-male flight crew wears boxer briefs, A&F cologne and flip-flops.

What’s most important for corporate leaders facing public furor over potentially offensive actions and statements is clarity of values, from the start, and clear and constant communications about those values.

So first, always be very transparent about your values of respect and inclusivity. Look at this quote from Steve Howe, area managing partner – Americas, Ernst & Young (No. 5 on The 2012 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) as an example:

“I can tell you that we truly do believe that inclusiveness is critical. It’s critical to us performing at a consistent, exceptional level all around the globe. It makes us better, more insightful; it helps us solve problems, manage risk and seize opportunities that much better. And we believe that driving multicultural teams is an absolute must.”

Second, act quickly and decisively and disassociate your organization and your leadership from what has been said/done.

Corporate advertisers have quickly dropped organizations and individuals who have made racist, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory statements. Earlier this year, advertisers bailed on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show after he called a female student a “slut” and “prostitute” for advocating women’s reproductive rights. And when ABC came under fire for a television show that offended Latinos, lesbians and transgender people, it quickly dropped the program.

Governor Romney quickly went public to say he disagreed with Mourdock’s statement, but his ad is still running. We will keep you updated if that changes.

—Barbara Frankel


Recommended Articles


  • Not sure what is wrong with Mourdock’s comment. If he is a God fearing man who believes that God is the maker of all of heaven and earth and is in charge of or destiny, then what is the problem???

    He didn’t say is was the woman’s fault or that she deserved it. His comment was no where near the comment Akin made (which was just stupid).

    I’m a black, 36 year old woman with two degrees in business. And I’m a Democrat. And I’m ordained in the Ministry. If someone needs to classify or qualify my comments using those stats.

    • Luke Visconti

      I’m glad you’re so sure of yourself. I hope you extend your confidence to defend the rights of your fellow Americans to practice their religious believes as they wish. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • On this isue I believe Life is Life.
    Taking a life is taking a life.
    I am not the Judge.
    It is still your right to choose on this earth.
    “God Will be the one who chooses”

  • It is amazing how much “in the name of God” we have done to unborn and born in this country. The American Indiana, the African, the Chinese, wow!!! Here on this soil. This man is really expressing what he thinks. God must be weeping.

  • This is a highly charged emotional issue. Each woman and her family has to determine what is the right thing to do in any given circumstance involving pregnancy. It is not for us to say or to judge. Remember, our footsteps may be grounded in our spirituality but we live in the secular world. It is a delicate balance we walk every day.

  • Anyone who has studied the Bible knows that God doesn’t actually control man’s actions. He inspires and guides, but gave man the free will to do whatever. Hence, a man that rapes a woman and subsequently creates a fetus is certainly not doing God’s work. He is acting on his own free will. Forcing the woman to have a baby under those circumstances is the equivalent of sentencing her to being victimized over and over for the rest of her life.

    That is why his statement is so wrong.

« Previous Article     Next Article »