This week Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) garnered national attention for saying that rape only rarely resulted in pregnancy. This is no isolated incident. Who can forget when Todd Akin spoke of “legitimate rapes” and women shutting “the whole thing down”? But less known is that this argument has been said again and again by several Republicans. Though completely false — a study found that over 32,100 pregnancies result from rape each year and some studies have found that rape victims are more likely to become pregnant than women who have consensual sex — the claim that raped women don’t become pregnant is a nice way for Republicans to try to fend off arguments for including exceptions for rape and incest in abortion legislation. See, most Americans, even most Republicans and even most anti-choicerssupport exceptions in cases of rape and incest.
So, what is a Republican who wants to ban abortion in all cases, with no exceptions whatsoever, to do? Well, he or she merely claims that it’s not an issue because rape victims don’t get pregnant. See, for example, the way Bush-appointed Judge James Leon Holmes explicitly used the lie that pregnancy never results from rape to support a constitutional ban on abortion: “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.” You hear that rape victims? You’re a red herring. The whole lot of you! Abortion-or-bust absolutist Republicans have found a way to deal with the inconvenient fact that most Americans support exceptions to save the woman’s life, too: pretend that pregnancy is never dangerous and never puts a woman’s life at risk. It’s not true, but that doesn’t stop these abortion fundamentalists! Are you seeing a pattern?
Here are some of the outrageous ways they have explained the lie that raped women can’t get pregnant, as well as reaction GIFs to what they say. Enjoy! (Thanks to Garance Franke-Ruta andAnna North for finding a bunch of these gems).
Trent Franks was minding his own business, trying to pass his proposal to ban all abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions, when some uppity Democrat had to bring up the issue of … well … rape and incest. Franks responded by saying, “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.”
I admire your commitment to extremist anti-choice legislation. Why let facts and reality stand in your way?
2. Todd “Shut That Whole Thing Down” Akin
Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who ran against Sen. Claire McCaskill gave his opponent the best gift ever when he said, “from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare … If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Despite hypocritical calls from Republicans who basically agree with Akin, at least policy-wise but know better than to say crazy things out loud, the Congressman stuck it out. And Senator McCaskill won the election. It was a “legitimate” election and she kinda “shut that whole thing down.”