Liberals defend Trent Franks: ‘Not every comment about rape and abortion is a Todd Akin comment’
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Abortion advocates, feminsts, and mainstream media outlets are misinterpreting comments Arizona Congressman Trent Franks made about rape and pregnancy, according to two liberal media commentators.
Yesterday, during discussions about his bill to ban late-term abortions, Rep. Franks, R-AZ, had explained the reason why the bill did not require a rape exception, telling New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler, “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”
He quickly clarified, explaining, “The incidences where pregnancy results from rape that results in abortion at the six month or after are very rare.”
Franks' spokesman Ben Carnes then stated categorically, “The intention was to comment on the number of abortions that occur at the 6th month and beyond (when the bill would take effect) as a result of rape, not the incidence of pregnancy from rape, though I know that’s what’s being reported.”
Those on the progressive Left seized upon Franks' words to revamp its contention that Republicans are waging a“War on Women.”
But David Weigel at Slate called their response “a little pat.”
“Not every comment about rape and abortion is a 'Todd Akin' comment,” Weigel wrote. “That's where the pummelling of Franks goes wrong.”
“Franks was chiding Democrats for making every abortion debate about the most controversial aspect of abortion rights, arguing that 1) it was an outlier and 2) his bill wouldn't affect that,” Weigel wrote.
His column had been preceded by Jonathan Chait of New York magazine, who wrote that Franks was factually correct and added that the pro-life Congressman “was not relying on pseudoscientific nuttery about the lady-parts shutting down pregnancy in the case of rape. He was saying something different.”
Pro-life leaders agreed that Franks's remark was far from a gaffe.
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“Rep. Franks was scolding Democrats for making every abortion debate about the most outlier aspect of abortion legislation, the less than one percent of cases involving rape and incest,” said Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America. “Franks is trying to do the right thing by protecting the same children we were outraged to see in refrigerators and trash cans in Philadelphia, but the media continues to change the subject.”
The media tied the aside to remarks made by former Congressman Todd Akin while running for the U.S. Senate seat in Missouri last year. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said.
Franks is not the first person to see the media distort his words about abortion to the Democratic Party's benefit.
Another Republican reviled by his party's establishment for his conservative stance, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, said, “Life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” The media reported that Mourdock had said the rape was intended, not the life that results from it. He went on to lose to Democrat Joe Donnelly.
Rep. Steve King, R-IA, also found himself in the midst of a feeding frenzy when he told a local reporter he would be open to discussing an exception in his bill that would deny federal funding for abortion in the hypothetical case of a 12-year-old who became pregnant by rape.
Instead, the journalist reported that the pro-life conservative had “not heard of” any child becoming pregnant in that manner.
The misreporting of Rep. King's remarks was reported by CBS News, the Detroit Free Press, New York Magazine, the Global Post, The Atlantic, Yahoo! News, and further distorted by the “progressive” media.
Franks made his statement yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee passed his “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 1797), by a vote of 20-12.
His bill, which would ban all abortions nationwide after the 20-week mark, passed the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on a party line vote, 6-4 last week.
The full U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the legislation, which is intended to protect unborn children capable of feeling pain, next week.
The motion, Nance said, would “stop all future Kermit Gosnells in their tracks” by ending all late-term abortions and giving viable babies in the womb a chance to live.