'Rape is rape', Obama attacks Republicans on abortion rights

Appealing to his women constituency, Obama said healthcare decisions for women was not something that politicians need get involved in. "These attempts to re-define rape in some way make no sense to me. And I don't think they make sense to the vast majority of women across the country," Obama said in an interview to NBC news. 

"But more broadly, I think what these episodes point to is the fact that you don't want politicians, the majority of them male, making a series of decisions about women's health care issues," he said.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
US President Barack Obama in a debate with Republican candidate Mitt Romney (Pic-AFP)

The Obama campaign has seized on remarks by Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who said that pregnancy after rape was God's will. Abortion rights for women has become a major subject of contention in the election, with the Democrats trying to corner Mitt Romney over the issue.

"I don't know how these guys come up with these ideas," Obama said. "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," he said.

Obama said he is very proud of his track record when it comes to having confidence that women can make their own decisions. "I think that it is important for women to have confidence that their president knows this is a set of decisions for them to make in consultations with their families, their clergy. "It is not something that politicians need get involved in," he said.

The Obama campaign also released a new television ad highlighting Romney comments on the abortion issue and his plan to try and cut funding for planned parenthood. Mourdock apologised for his comments after as a series of Republicans distanced themselves from his views.

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