Another White Republican Man Joins House “Rape Apology Caucus”

Lauren Teixeira

The ever-growing House rape apology caucus gained a new member today—Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who claimed in his defense of a proposal to put a ban on all abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy that the rate of pregnancies resulting from rape is “very low.” Franks follows in the footsteps of rape apologist par excellence, former representative Todd Akin, who infamously declared last summer that if a woman undergoes a “legitimate rape,” her body will “shut that whole thing down.”  The supposed fact that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare or non-existent is one of the anti-abortion lobby’s favorite tropes in defending highly restrictive abortion legislation. It is, of course, not true. Current evidence supports the conclusion that pregnancies resulting from rape and pregnancies resulting from consensual sex occur at the same rate. The “scientific evidence” conservatives usually reference to support their erroneous conviction consists of two studies, a 1996 study and a 2001 study, both of which have since been debunked. “The idea that Republican men on this committee can tell the women of America that they have to carry to term the product of a rape is outrageous,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) following Franks’ statement. Indeed, Franks is also joined by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who claimed in defense of Akin he hadn’t “heard of” victims of statutory rape or incest becoming pregnant, as well as Rep. Richard Mourdock (R-IN) who suggested last year that women ought to think of pregnancies resulting from rape as “something that God intended to happen.”

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Lauren Teixeira is a Summer 2013 editorial intern at In These Times.
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