WASHINGTON, D.C., June 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Just as Trent Franks' bill banning late-term abortions was moving forward, the Arizona congressman inadvertently reopened a divisive battle on the subject of rape and pregnancy.
Franks' Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-12 today.
The measure passed the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on a party line vote, 6-4 last week. Next week, the full, Republican-controlled House will vote on the bill.
However, the vote may be overshadowed by a new media feeding frenzy attacking the pro-life congressman, as reporters did Todd Akin, over comments about the relationship between rape and pregnancy.
On the floor, House Republicans turned back numerous attempts by Democrats to water down the bill or add amendments to slow its passage. In rejecting an amendment to allow abortion in the case of rape or incest, Franks told New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler, “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”
"The incidences where pregnancy results from rape that results in abortion at the six month or after are very rare," he clarified.
Franks stated that he was pointing out the incongruence of the Democrats' amendment with this, or any, late-term abortion bill.
“When you make that exception, there's usually the requirement to report the rape within 48 hours,” he said. “And in this case, that's impossible, because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that's what completely negates – vitiates the purpose for such an amendment."
Congressman Franks issued a statement Wednesday afternoon further explaining, “Pregnancies from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are very rare. This bill does not address unborn children in earlier gestations. Indeed, the bill does nothing to restrict abortions performed before the beginning of the 6th month.” (Emphasis added.)
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Although his statement clearly does not mention the link between rape and pregnancy, Stephanie Haven of CBS News erroneously reported, “Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., stands by comment that pregnancy rate 'very low' from rape.”
Some in his own party have seized the opportunity to bash Franks and, by proxy, the party's social conservative base.
Massachusetts Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez called Franks a “moron” this afternoon. “He proves that stupid has no specific political affiliation,” said Gomez, who defeated the pro-life community's preferred candidate, Michael Sullivan, in the GOP primary in April.
Gomez says he would vote against a 24-hour waiting period but remains in hot water in Massachusetts for saying he would consider voting for a pro-life Supreme Court justice. He added that he may vote for a justice who favors abortion-on-demand, as well.
Franks' statement that very few abortions stem from rape, especially late in pregnancy, are verified by pro-life advocates and cold, hard statistics.
Abortions due to rape account for around one percent of all abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which favors abortion rights, abortions due to rape or incest combined account for slightly less than 1.5 percent of all abortions.
Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation, who was conceived by rape, introduces himself by saying, “I am the one percent of all abortions that are used to justify the other 99 percent.”
Alternately, abortions performed for convenience amount to at least 74 percent, or at least 895,400 abortions each year.
Further, studies show the vast majority of women who are raped carry their babies to term.
Rebecca Kiessling, who was herself conceived by rape, told LifeSiteNews.com that “only about 15 to 25 percent” of women who become pregnant through rape choose to abort. Other estimates range as high as 30 percent. However, they also found 70 percent of rape victims who aborted children came to believe they made the wrong decision.
The atrocities of late-term abortionists like Gosnell and Douglas Karpen are also causing Americans to rethink the “pro-choice” argument.
"Because of publicity surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell and subsequent revelations about other abortionists, many Americans are becoming aware for the first time that abortions are frequently performed late in pregnancy on babies who are capable of being born alive, and on babies who will experience great pain while being killed," said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.
Although Planned Parenthood portrays Gosnell as an outlier, Franks' bill could affect hundreds of abortionists.
Based on a 2008 study from the Guttmacher Institute, the National Right to Life Committee estimated there are at least 300 abortion providers who will perform abortions after 20 weeks and around 140 willing to perform abortions at 24 weeks or later.
But Terry O’Neill, president National Organization for Women, said that by invoking Gosnell Congressional Republicans are “demonizing the fight for reproductive rights.”
The NOW chief urged feminists to rise up to oppose this bill.
“The stakes couldn't be higher,” O'Neill wrote.