WASHINGTON — House Republican Trent Franks of Arizona drew a sharp response during debate on an
abortion bill when he said that the number of pregnancies resulting from rape is
Franks later sought to clarify his remark, saying he
intended to say that later-term abortions linked to pregnancies caused by rape
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, where Franks made his original
comment, quickly compared it to the statement made by former Rep. Todd Akin,
R-Mo., that women’s bodies can avoid pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”
Akin’s 2012 campaign for a Senate seat in Missouri foundered after the comment.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said Franks’ assertion Wednesday was not based on
scientific fact and Rep. Jerrold Nadler cited several studies that found that
rape results in higher levels of unintended pregnancies.
The committee was debating, and later approved, a Franks-sponsored bill that
would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancies.
His comment came when Democrats proposed an amendment to make an exception to
that ban in the case of rape or incest. Franks said that what he meant to say
was that abortions occurring after the beginning of the sixth month of
pregnancy, which would be prohibited under his legislation, rarely are the
result of rapes.