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Trent Franks Didn't Pull a Todd Akin

1:25 PM, Jun 12, 2013 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Washington Post's Aaron Blake reports (emphasis added): 

Another Republican congressman ventured into the realm of rape and pregnancy Wednesday, saying at a committee hearing that incidences of pregnancy from rape are “very low.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), whose measure banning abortions after 20 weeks was being considered in the House Judiciary Committee, argued against a Democratic amendment to make exceptions for rape and incest by suggesting that pregnancy from rape is rare.

“The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” Franks said.

Franks did not rest his case against an exception for late-term abortions in the case of rape because the number of pregnancies in such circumstances is small. 

Franks said he opposed the amendment because 20 weeks into pregnancy and beyond a child is very developed. "The fundamental opposition here should be predicated on the notion that this child is going into the 6th month of pregnancy," Franks said. At that point in pregnancy, a baby can feel physical pain and some can survive if born. After all, when babies can survive birth, it's possible to "terminate" a pregnancy without killing a child (by delivering her).

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the ranking Democrat on the House judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, recently made the exact same argument as Franks regarding babies in the 7th month of pregnancy. Nadler has said that at that point there should only be a life and health of the mother exception after viability. "Other than for the life or health of the mother, no one's going to defend a 7th-month abortion," Nadler said recently. "The question is where you draw the line." Franks's bill draws it a month earlier. 

During the committee hearing today, Nadler and Franks got into a discussion on reporting cases of rape. "You noted rather that the amendment does not make any requirement that rape be reported," Nadler said. "My question is what difference does it make?"

Franks replied: 

The point I was trying to make Mr. Nadler was that before when my friends on the left side of the aisle tried to make rape and incest the subject because the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low. But when you make that exception, there's usually the requirement to report the rape within 48 hours.

Simply stating that the number of abortions in the case of rape is low (in relation to the total number of abortions) is not the same thing as Todd Akin's crazy, unscientific claim that women can't get pregnant from "legitimate rape" because their bodies have a way to "shut that whole thing down."

Trent Franks probably should have known that any remarks that could be taken out of context on this issue would be taken out of context. But what he said was not close to what Akin said.

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