Trent Franks: Republican Representative Pulls A Todd Akin and Spreads Lies About Rape

Another day, another GOP representative making non-factual public statements about rape and pregnancy. More of the usual. Are we going to have to make them all pass a seventh-grade-level biology test before they can speak on these issues? I guess some Republicans didn't get the memo that lying about rape won't get you elected. Like most of the fallacies politicians propagate about rape, this one was in the name of limiting reproductive freedom for women. So at least the intention was good? Not.

According to Aviva Shen at Think Progress, Representative Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) made the comment today during a committee hearing for a bill he's introducing. In an effort to defend his plan to ban all abortions after the 20-week mark (without any exception for rape or incest), he claimed, "The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low, so we don't need to permit abortions in these cases."  

He also made nonsensical remarks about requirements when it comes to reporting rape. Apparently, you need to do it in 48 hours or it doesn't count? I think he's talking about those rape kits that end up sitting on shelves for years and never get tested. Here's his quote (if you can decode it): "But when you make that exception [allowing rape victims to get abortions], 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."

His comments echoed those of failed politician and improvised biologist Todd Akin, who told KTVI-TV that pregnancy from rape is "really rare" and that "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." In case you live under a rock and were unaware of the media uproar, this was all untrue.

Let's debunk this myth once and for all. Rape from pregnancy is not rare, it's actually frequent. According to The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "Among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year." But who are you going to believe? A peer-reviewed study performed by medical experts stating factual evidence, or an old dude who got elected that one time (and who may not be elected again if his path will be anything like Akin's)? Other studies actually find that pregnancy from rape is more common than with consensual sex. As Aviva Shen points out, this research performed by the Center For Disease Control And Prevention would suggest that the amount of pregnancies from rape would be closer to 83,000 a year. So why are we using this argument again?

Politico is reporting that Republican Massachusetts Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez just used the term "moron" to describe Trent Franks.  I feel like a lot us might agree — even some Republicans. Do you? Let me know on Twitter: @feministabulous

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Elizabeth Plank

Elizabeth is a Senior Correspondent at Mic and the host of Flip the Script.

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