In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Trent Franks Walks Back Claim About Pregnancy From Rape

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AP Photo

Franks made his controversial remark at a Judiciary Committee meeting on his legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, while urging colleagues to reject a Democratic amendment making an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

"The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low," the congressman said. "When you make that exception, there's usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case, that's impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that's what completely negates and vitiates the purpose of such an amendment."

Franks' spokesman clarified to TPM what he was trying to say.

"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," said Ben Carnes, "though I know that's what's being reported."

The remark was initially reported by the Washington Post and created a stir on social media. House Democrats immediately used it to clobber other Republicans. Massachusetts GOP Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez called Franks a "moron" for his comment. It brought back memories of Republicans Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who damaged their party by making extremely controversial and factually inaccurate claims about rape and pregnancy last year.

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About The Author

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.