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Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Indiana, recently stated:

"The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
This statement earned a repudiation from the Mitt Romney campaign, and sent shockwaves through other Senate races. But despite the backpedaling, Slate noted that Mourdock's position (no exceptions for rape or incest) has become the new Republican mainstream position. Frequently, this position is couched in absolutist language, like "100% pro-life." Even if the candidate side-steps direct questions about rape and incest exceptions, using that language is a dog whistle that signals support for a "no exceptions" position. Slate also noted that Kurt Bills, Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate follows that practice, refusing to answer direct questions about rape and incest exceptions, while using language to signal support for banning abortion in all circumstances.

To explore this, I took a tour of Minnesota Republican legislative candidate websites to see what they said about abortion.

Of the nearly Republican 200 candidates running for the legislature, not one was pro-choice, and only one actually mentioned exceptions for rape or incest. That was Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria,) whose website stated:

"Bill is a pro-life candidate who believes life is defined as conception to natural death. Bill further believes that abortion should only be allowed to prevent the death of the mother, or when the pregnancy is the result of a reported rape or the result of incest, with the perpetrator reported to law enforcement."
Of course, candidate websites are only one way that candidate signal their position on issues, so this is by its very nature, incomplete. However, there are a lot of Minnesota Republicans who have an absolutist view on abortion that contravenes public opinion that supports the availability of abortions in cases of rape or incest. Indeed, even abortion opponents who describe themselves as "pro-life" generally support exceptions in those cases.

Here are 22 Minnesota Republican's whose position on abortion seems to mirror the absolutist position of Richard Mourdock.

SD1: Steve Nordhagen
"My wife and I believe that every child conceived is planned by God, whether or not that child was planned by their parents."

SD4: Phil Hansen
"Life begins at conception and ends at natural death."

SD5: John Carlson
"I believe that life begins at conception and should be cherished and protected until natural death."

SD 9: Paul Gazelka
"I believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Adoption should always be the choice over abortion."

SD15: Paul Brown
"From conception to birth, babies are living human beings and should be protected as such. Abortion should not be legal and there should be no public funding to end the life of a baby."

SD28: Jeremy Miller
"I am a pro-life legislator and believe life begins at conception and ends at natural death."

SD30: Mary Kiffmeyer
"I believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death."

SD33: Dave Osmek
"I will always vote to achieve a 100% score EVERY year from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), which is a group that focuses the most on this important issue. Life begins at conception."

SD56: Dan Hall
"I believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Adoption should always be the choice over abortion."

SD57: Pat Hall
"I believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Life is our first unalienable right and must be protected by the state at all costs."

HD1A: Deb Kiel
"I believe that life is a gift, given to us by God. Every life is important and has value, and we must be diligent in protecting the elderly, the vulnerable and our unborn children."

HD5B: Carol McElfatrick
"On social issues, Carolyn is an unwavering conservative. Believing that human life is precious and that it begins at fertilization, she is an active worker in the defense of life at all stages and in all conditions."

HD8B: Mary Franson
"Mary is a pro-life from conception to natural death. Mary is opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion and the heinous practice of partial-birth abortion. Mary supports adoption and programs to ease the adoption process. Mary believes marriage is the loving bond of one man and one woman who have as many children as God entrusts to their care."

HD9A: Mark Anderson
"I believe that life, as a gift from our creator, begins at conception and ends at natural death. Adoption should be the choice over abortion."

HD9B: Ron Kresha
"Pro-Life 100%: Life begins at conception.  As a parent, teacher, coach, and community member I have always believed that our future generations will continue to make this nation great.  But, if we are aborting our children before they even leave the womb, not only are we committing  a terrible atrocity, but we are passing along the wrong values to our future men and women."

HD17A: Tim Miller
"I will not deviate from my position, namely, legalized abortion must end."

HD17B: Bruce Vogel
"I believe in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception to the day of natural death."

HD18B: Glenn Gruenhagen
"The most basic and fundamental right which comes from God is the right to life. I am pro life from conception to natural death."

HD31A: Kurt Daudt
"Kurt is pro-life and will work to protect life from conception to natural death."

HD35B: Peggy Scott
"I am 100% pro-life."

HD40B: Richard Cushing
"This bold declaration says plainly that man's Creator—not the government—gives to each man an unalienable right to life. It would be foolish of me, and morally corrupt, to stand in my campaign claiming to be for liberty and for man's pursuit of happiness while taking any other stand than to be for life."

HD52B: Paul Tuschy
"Our government was instituted to secure our God-given rights to life and liberty. How seriously we take that responsibility can be judged by how we treat the most innocent among us. I believe that the government's duty to protect life includes protecting the unborn. Because I agree with Thomas Jefferson that it is “sinful and tyrannical” to “compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors,” I will work to end forced taxpayer funding of abortion in Minnesota. I think it’s time to elect a Representative with the courage and conviction to stand up for every Minnesotan’s right to life."

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