How do prominent Republicans keep stepping on the same mine in the same minefield?
This time Arizona Rep. Trent Franks responded during debate of a restrictive anti-abortion bill with the Todd Akin-like comment:
“The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” said Franks. ”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 of such an amendment.”
The fact is that a pregnancy through rape is just as likely to occur as if it was through consensual sex. There is a 5% chance of pregnancy in either situation. Most people consider that 5% chance high enough that birth control is used. If it’s high enough that couples worry about it, then it is high enough for a rape victim to worry about it.
Franks’ dismissive argument about the chances of pregnancy overshadows the other part of his comment. It appears that Franks is only accepting a “legitimate” rape as one that is reported. Franks’ asserts that there is no need for an exception to the 20-week limit for an abortion in the bill because the rape needed to be reported long before then. Yet many things can go on in the mind of a rape victim even if she reports it. For those women who don’t have the strength to endure the shame of reporting a rape, they are simply out of luck if they gather the courage to report too late for a state’s reporting requirements.
There are not likely to be many abortions past 20 weeks in the case of rape anyway. Most women will make up their minds long before then. For the few who decide they cannot bear a pregnancy any longer, then tough luck. No prosecution; no abortion.
What Franks is doing is putting the responsibility for a pregnancy during rape on the woman. Franks has the idea that a woman will as quickly report a rape as Franks would if he was mugged walking down the street.
After Franks made his comment, he was immediately reprimanded by California Rep. Zoe Lofgren who challenged Franks’ assertion.
“The suggestion that rape rarely leads to pregnancy has no basis in science or fact,” Lofgren said.
“And I would just like to point out the fact that I never made such a suggestion,” Franks replied.
Uh, yes he did.