Add Republican Rep. Trent Franks to the growing list of Republicans who are making outlandish claims about rape and pregnancy.
The Arizona lawmaker, who is spearheading an initiative banning all abortions after 20 weeks, is claiming the rate of pregnancies as a result of rape is very small.
“The incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” Franks said during a House Judiciary markup session on his bill on Wednesday. He made the remarks after a Democratic amendment, to make an exception for rape and incest, was proposed.
“When you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that’s impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose for such an amendment.”
It’s not clear where Franks got his information from. According to a study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, more than 32,000 pregnancies result from rape in the country every year.
The bill was approved by the committee on a party-line 20-12 vote and could get a vote in the full House as early as next week.
Franks’ remarks echo former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, who during his failed 2012 Senate campaign infamously argued that women’s bodies have the capability of avoiding pregnancy if the rape is “legitimate.” Similarly, during the same election cycle, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock sabotaged his campaign after suggesting that pregnancies, even in cases of rape, are “something God intended to happen.”
The left immediately ripped Franks’ remarks. Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who sits on the committee called Franks’ comments “astonishing,” adding there’s no scientific backing to his statements.
The Democratic Party tweeted its disapproval and tied him failed Senate candidate Akin.
With these comments, Rep. Franks is going to give Todd Akin a run for his money: washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-pol…
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) June 12, 2013
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UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.: Franks tells NBC that his remarks were “taken out of context” considering the scope of the bill doesn’t affect abortions performed before six months of gestation. “The reality is the bill that we have doesn’t do anything to restrict abortion before the beginning of the sixth month of pregnancy. And the incidences where pregnancy from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are rare. That’s all I was saying,” he said.