GOP Congressman Says Rate of Pregnancies From Rape Is Very Low


Here we go again. Another GOP politician says something stupid and just blantantly false about rape and pregnancy.

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.

“Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject  — because, you know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” Franks said.

 Franks continued: “But 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.”

Democrats on the committee, including Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), responded by pointing to similar comments made by then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) in his 2012 Senate campaign. Akin suggested that the female body can prevent pregnancy from occurring after a “legitimate rape” — a claim that is not backed up by scientific research and for which Akin apologized.

Unfortunately, Franks’s remarks are just false.

As the Post’s Sarah Kliff noted at the time of Akin’s comments, a 2003 study from St. Lawrence University actually found that pregnancy results from rape significantly more often it does in other cases.

A 2011 study from San Francisco State University found that, in Colombia, “female youth who have experienced sexual violence report significantly higher levels of unintended pregnancy and unmet need for contraception and lower levels of current modern contraceptive use compared to those who have not experienced sexual violence.”

Here’s a protip for Republicans when dealing with the sensitive subject of rape and pregnancy, don’t talk about it. Assume any question about the subject is a lefty “gotcha” question and an attempt at trolling. Furthermore, don’t bring the subject up on your own. The way Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and now Trent Franks handled this subject plays into the Democrats’ “War on Women” narrative, which helped to kill the GOP in 2012. The 2014 elections are a year and half off so whether or not these remarks will have a national impact remains to be seen.