While experts find that rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) claimed, ‘The incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.’
In case you thought Republicans were going to give the War on Women a break, what with their scandal-mongering and lessened work days, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) set the record straight when he claimed at a hearing Wednesday, “The incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”
Of course, Franks had an agenda in pretending ignorance about rape, as he was objecting to a Democratic amendment to make an exception to Franks’ bill to nationally ban all abortions after the 20 week mark. His bill was advanced from an all-male panel, naturally. Franks’ “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” is unconstitutional, and allows no exceptions for rape and/or incest victims. Somehow Republicans sell this as being “family values”.
The actual facts are a bit more disturbing than Franks let on, and he might be surprised to learn that rapists do not only impregnate liberal, Democratic women, but also Republican, conservative women and even, by a disturbingly large amount, young girls (way to shrink that tent). The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine says that among adult women, an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. That is not “low”.
The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.
The experts disagree with Frank Trent. They conclude that actually, “Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization.”
Franks came by his Republican “unskewed” rape statistics the honest way; he served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Family Research Institute, an organization associated with Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family”. If you’re still confused, in 2011 Franks said, “[gay marriage] literally is a threat to the nation’s survival.” In other words, Franks is just another Republican with “family values”, if by family, you mean white, Christian, straight men.
Representative Franks is not known for his close relationship to reality, as he once accused President Obama of being “an enemy of humanity” in what can only be described as a moment of blind projection. His judgment isn’t the best, either. In 2006, he gave $4,200 to Tom DeLay (R-TX), nearly six months after the Republican leader was indicted.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) wasn’t playing any games with Franks, and she shot back during the hearing, “I just find it astonishing to hear a phrase repeated that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is low. There’s no scientific basis for that and the idea that the 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.”
Yes, that’s exactly what they are going to do. American women will be forced to carry the product of rape to term, and pay for their rapist’s crime literally. American families will be forced by the Republican Party to pay for their daughter’s rapist’s baby. American men will be forced to watch their wife/daughter give birth to her rapist’s baby. And since many states grant rapists visitation, you can imagine the good family times to be had when her rapist stops by for a visit.
The Republican rape panels are real and they’re here.
Note: The pregnancy rape study is from 1996. Separate rape statistics compiled by the FBI for reported “forcible rapes” alone (rape is an under-reported crime) show that rapes dropped from 1996 to 2009 by around 8,000 (88,097 in 2009 compared to 96,250 in 1996, though the number per year goes up and down). But even if pregnancy rates via rape were “low”, is not Franks’ decision to make, even if it only happened to one woman or girl a year.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.