Abortion-rights groups cheer Akin, Mourdock defeats

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God," Mourdock said during a candidate debate. "And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Both comments created media firestorms, prompted ads against Akin and Mourdock from abortion-rights groups, and widened the scope of the women's healthcare debate in the presidential election.

On Tuesday night, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) cheered the Republicans' defeat.

"Tonight, voters rejected some of the nation’s most vocal and extreme opponents of access to birth control, safe and legal abortion, and basic healthcare," said PPAF President Cecile Richards.

"Women went to the polls tonight and sent a resounding message to politicians who want to insert themselves into personal health care decisions. Several key races tonight show that there is a political price to pay for demeaning and dismissing women," she added.