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Another Wingnut on Rape and Pregnancy

Rep. Trent Franks, one of the most far-right members of Congress, is pushing a bill to ban all abortions after 20 weeks (which will pass, but it’s purely a symbolic vote because it will fail in the Senate or be vetoed by Obama). And in defending it, he’s saying the same thing Todd Akin said:

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.

This is what I mean when I point out that Todd Akin did not “misspeak” when he said that a woman’s body can shut down during a rape to prevent pregnancy. He accurately stated what he believes to be true. This is a very common belief among the Christian right, another myth they have swallowed whole because it fits what wish were true.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    …by suggesting that pregnancy from rape is rare.

    If Aiken’s “legitimate rape” comment is anything to go by, I’m guessing that Franks actually believes that non-false accusations of rape are rare.

  2. mythbri says

    (which will pass, but it’s purely a symbolic vote because it will fail in the Senate or be vetoed by Obama)

    The fact that it will even pass is not of much comfort to those of use it affects, even if it will fail to become law.

  3. says

    The Just World Hypothesis rears it’s ugly anti-morality head. If you get pregnant, that means it wasn’t a rape and you deserve to be saddled with a responsibility you didn’t ask for.

  4. John Pieret says

    If Franks really believes that trauma causes women not to get pregnant, why is he trying to sterilize the entire wingnut community by claiming there are evil Islamist terrorists under every bed (remember Huma Abedin)?

  5. Jordan Genso says

    I don’t see this statement as being the same as Akin’s. Akin was talking about the (im)possibility that a pregnancy could result from rape, whereas Franks’ statement is him saying that it’s not common in terms of total numbers (which he is wrong on, unless you think that tens of thousands doesn’t qualify as ‘common’), but he’s making no statement as to the likelihood of a rape resulting in pregnancy.

    He may very well incorrectly believe that a rape is less likely to result in pregnancy than any other form of unprotected sex, but you can’t automatically derive that from this specific statement.

    So his statement is still wrong, but we shouldn’t mischaracterize what he was saying.

  6. Who Knows? says

    He back tracked a bit on the statement saying he meant that the numbers of pregnancies reaching 20 weeks would be low… I’m not sure I read that but it seemed to me he was using the opportunity to bash the liberals for jumping on his statement.

  7. kingoftoasty says

    he’s making no statement as to the likelihood of a rape resulting in pregnancy.

    Um…reading comprehension much?

    “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.

    How exactly is that not him making a statement about the likelihood of rape leading to pregnancy?

  8. mobius says

    Even if it were rare (which it clearly isn’t), HOW does that make it an excuse not to allow abortions in the case of rape or incest?

  9. Synfandel says

    kingoftoasty, Jordan Genso is seriously splitting hairs, but he is technically correct. Incidence and likelihood are not the same thing. The former is an absolute value; the latter is a probability. That being said, I have no doubt that what Representative Franks meant was substantively the same thing as what Representative Todd Akin meant.

  10. Synfandel says

    mobius, exactly! Representative Franks’ comment about the incidence of pregnancy from rape, whether true or false (and it’s clearly false) is completely and utterly irrelevant.

  11. frankb says

    There is a difference between “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy” and “the incidence of pregnancy caused by rape”. Franks said the former which is claiming what Akin claimed.

  12. Sastra says

    Bronze Dog #4 wrote:

    The Just World Hypothesis rears it’s ugly anti-morality head. If you get pregnant, that means it wasn’t a rape and you deserve to be saddled with a responsibility you didn’t ask for.

    I think there’s an additional assumption at work, one which is also based on supernatural-style thinking: the mystical, magical mind/body connection. If a woman is nervous, upset, or traumatized then her body will fail to relax enough for the miracle of conception to take place. This is “folk biology.” You get this in woo-ey new age spirituality as well as in fundamentalist circles.

    Consider the popular trope of the couple who finally gave up fertility treatments in order to adopt and wham! she’s pregnant. Ah, she was tense before, wanting a child too much. The egg won’t fertilize and implant if you’re tense. Folk wisdom.

    Now apply it to rape.

    Wingnuts will apply it to rape, pulling on a popular superstition as if it were scientific fact. But a lot of people believe in a mind/body connection which goes beyond the reasonable ones endorsed by science — and “babies” are an emotional trigger.

  13. says

    In the wake of Todd Akin, this tweet by James Wolcott said most of what needed to be said:

    “Memo to Republicans: Try running fewer rape philosophers next time.”

  14. conway says

    I don’t get it. The whole point of the rape exception is so our lily-white daughters won’t have to have no Nigra babies. Shouldn’t these guys be all for it?

  15. marcus says

    Jordan @ 6 At the risk of mischaracterizing this arrogant asshole let me just say that he is either a lying sack of shit or an ignorant piece of crap and at any rate, the truth is not in him.

  16. gshelley says

    The Washington Post seems to sumarise it well
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-the-incidence-of-rape-resulting-in-pregnancy-is-very-low/2013/06/12/936bc45e-d3ad-11e2-8cbe-1bcbee06f8f8_blog.html
    It would depend on his definition of “very low”. It seems that there may be 30-50000 pregnancies from rape each year, out of about 3 million, which would put it at maybe 1%. This could reasonably be considered very low.
    Why he would then think that because there is only 30-50000, these people don’t matter is another issue

  17. says

    @ conway,
    Even if Republicans got their wish — a veto-proof Senate, keep their House majority and another president elected as dumb as Dubya — and were able to pass a law upheld by the five conservatives on the SC, members of Congress and the wealthy would just fly THEIR daughters to Sweden, or one of those other evil, Satinized European countries to have abortions.
    And the Republican rubes’ daughters would just have to suffer. Because Jesus.

    It’s just like those tough-on-drugs Republican Congressmen whose sons got busted with pounds of cocaine get off with community service that they likely never even bother to show up for while a black kid with a $5 crack rock for personal use gets serious prison time.

  18. gopiballava says

    (Starting from the perspective of Rep. Franks…)
    So, Rep. Franks is unhappy that people are focussing on a minority of the people who would unfairly have their rights infringed by his proposed law. They are only a small percentage, so there is no need to add an exemption for them.

    I don’t see how that follows. There is a clearly defined group of people who he implicitly accepts should be exempted, but they’re small so there’s no need for the exemption.

    I don’t buy it. I think that Rep. Franks likely believes some combination of:
    a) Women pregnant from rape shouldn’t be permitted abortion, but he is smart enough to know that won’t fly
    b) Thinks that women will lie and pretend they were raped to bypass the law

    Now, personally, I don’t see a problem with (b) as long as they don’t try to blame it on a person or make the police search. But that’s my own philosophical view: a lie to bypass an unjust law is a moral act. He is probably aware of how hard it would be to stop (b) from happening.

    I really think that many of these people are caught between the “abortion is murder” belief and the “carry your rapist’s baby for 9 months” torture. They have to figure out how to resolve them. The actions of a rapist don’t make the killing of a baby OK.

    (No, I don’t agree with him, but he’s contorted himself into a tough philosphical position. Which, you know, is probably to be expected when your axioms are inconsistent absurdities that contradict observed reality…)

  19. tuxedocartman says

    Terrorist attacks are even more rare than rape pregnancies, so clearly he will support closing down the CIA, NSA, and FBI.

  20. D. C. Sessions says

    I really think that many of these people are caught between the “abortion is murder” belief and the “carry your rapist’s baby for 9 months” torture. They have to figure out how to resolve them.

    Well, they could sedate the host organism for the remainder of the pregnancy so that she doesn’t suffer until she’s completed her destined role. However that might harm the baby, so it would probably be best to solve the issue surgically by some means with no lasting harm to anything important. Perhaps a prefrontal lobotomy.

    I can readily see the fetus worshippers accepting this as a solution to the “female unwilling to accept her proper place in society” problem: female caught seeking to terminate a pregnancy is surgically adapted to fulfill God’s Will for her life.

    She’s happier, the people around her are happier, baby Jesus is happier — there’s just no downside.

  21. juniperann says

    Mobius: “Even if it were rare (which it clearly isn’t), HOW does that make it an excuse not to allow abortions in the case of rape or incest?”

    This! Thisthisthis!

    Bronze dog: “The Just World Hypothesis rears it’s ugly anti-morality head. If you get pregnant, that means it wasn’t a rape and you deserve to be saddled with a responsibility you didn’t ask for.”

    I need a this button!

    Having been in the super pro-life movement (disengaged around 2003), I’ll tell you that the internal justification is (was) that pregnancy is actually god’s consolation prize for getting raped. I mean, initially you’re all like, “I want to abort due to post-traumatic insanity defense”, but then you realize that God is giving you a baby to comfort you in your time of distress! :D Ugh.

  22. John Phillips, FCD says

    So are rape and abstinence the only forms of birth control approved by rapeublicans?

  23. lofgren says

    There is a difference between “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy” and “the incidence of pregnancy caused by rape”. Franks said the former which is claiming what Akin claimed.

    It’s easier to dismiss this by saying that he misspoke than the Akin’s statements were. But it really doesn’t matter. The key point is that it is a cruel and dishonest statement no matter how you parse it. Even if it were a technically accurate statement he would be using it in an equivocal and dishonest manner.

  24. says

    Ignoring Ed’s slightly hyperbolic statements about the “craziest RW mofo of the day”, and just going by the straight news stories of the last 30 or so years, I’d say it’s a pretty sure bet that approximately 30% of the U.S. Congress’ members are anti-science fucktards. My estimate may well be low.

  25. Michael Heath says

    democommie writes:

    I’d say it’s a pretty sure bet that approximately 30% of the U.S. Congress’ members are anti-science fucktards. My estimate may well be low.

    Your estimate is way too low. Republican members both in the House and the Senate all universally deny that: scientific findings almost monolithically find that the the climate is warming and that’s due to human-generated activities and the threat posed by this warming as expressed by climate scientists will cause massive human suffering.

    Some of them might accept a few premises, I assume in an attempt to come across as a sane, reasonable, non-idiotic, honest person; but even these dolts effectively promote conclusions which are dependent on factually false premises. So they’re taking the same idiotic, dangerous positions of those full-fledged morons who deny all of the above factual premises. From an effective standpoint when it comes to policy proposals, all Republicans in the House and Senate are anti-science.

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