Arizona’s Trent Franks Doesn’t Get To Make Up Facts As Though We Were Living Orwell’s 1984

Rep. Trent Franks

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)


News Flash: And 20 weeks isn’t six months

[Y]ou know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” according to Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).

Franks was speaking at a House Judiciary Committee markup that was considering his proposal, substitute H.B. 1797, to ban all abortions after 20 weeks.

What is not rare is getting pregnant after being raped.

What is rare, and a number I’ve not seen in any news report, is how many abortions are performed after 21 weeks. This 2003 CDC study says only 1.4%. That’s a “very low” rate especially when you learn that 61% were performed at <8 weeks and 88% at <13 weeks.

You don’t get to make up your own facts, Rep Franks. It’s not quite 1984 yet.

It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. – 1984, Part 1, Chapter 5, emphasis added

There is a body of research, you see, that contradicts Franks.

So let’s not swallow the thoughtless babble of yet another white male Republican trying to control women’s bodies.

From the National Institutes of Health, 2011 research:

[F]emale youth who have experienced sexual violence report significantly higher levels of unintended pregnancy and unmet need for contraception and lower levels of current modern contraceptive use compared to those who have not experienced sexual violence.

From Human Nature, 2003 research:

[P]er-incident rape-pregnancy rates exceed per-incident consensual pregnancy rates by a sizable margin, even before adjusting for the use of relevant forms of birth control.

From the National Institutes of Health, 1996 research:

The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45)… 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. (emphasis added)

But even if the chance of getting pregnant were to be exactly the same, the rate would be at least 3.1% according to this 2001 study reported in Contraception Journal.

There is no research that documents the claim that rape induces pregnancy at a lower rate than consensual intercourse much less Franks’ insinuation that it is much lower than the rate for consensual intercourse.

Retraction time: I meant six months

And even Franks backpedaled later: “Those pregnancies from rape that result in the mother deciding to abort after the sixth month begins are very rare, and that is what we were trying to say.”

And to a different reporter: “Indeed, the bill does nothing to restrict abortions performed before the beginning of the 6th month.”

Ah, after the sixth month.

Let’s see. Roughly four weeks to a month: 6×4 = 24. The Franks bill cuts off abortion at 20 weeks. That’s shy of five, not six, months. Seven days to a week: 7×20 = 140. Pregnancy is, on average, 40 weeks or 280 days from the first day of the last menstrual period.

That means 20 weeks is approximately 4.5 months or only half-way through the pregnancy. So why is he talking about six months?

The man is innumerate, too?

See if we can find a traditional (newspaper, TV, radio) reporter who deconstructed the six month “correction.”

Or note that an anatomic ultrasound is often ordered after 20 weeks “to determine fetal anomalies” and “to measure growth ensuring the fetus is developing according to plan.”

Nevertheless, the bill cleared Committee on a party-line vote (20-12). There are four Democratic women on the committee; three voted no. Rep. Chu (D-CA) did not vote. One Democrat, Rep. Pierluisi of Puerto Rico, voted yes.

To the women of Arizona, you need to call him out.

And to MSM reporters, start pointing out where these guys are wrong instead of simply filling the air and space with their version of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth propaganda.

The vote

Half of the votes both for and against the measure were from representatives of the 11 former Confederate states.

Voting Yes

Rep. Bachus (R-AL), Rep. Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT), Rep. Coble (R-NC), Rep. Collins (R-GA), Rep. DeSantis (R-FL), Rep. Farenthold (R-TX), Rep. Forbes (R-VA), Rep. Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Gowdy (R-SC), Rep. Holding (R-NC), Rep. Issa (R-CA), Rep. Jordan (R-OH), Rep. King (R-IA), Rep. Labrador (R-ID), Rep. Marino (R-PA), Rep. Pierluisi (D-PR), Rep. Poe (R-TX), Rep. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI)

Voting No

Rep. Bass (D-CA), Rep. Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Conyers (D-MI), Rep. DelBene (D-WA), Rep. Garcia (D-FL), Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Lofren (D-CA), Rep. Scott (D-VA), Rep. Watt (D-NC).

:: Follow me @kegill

And yes, I’m re-reading 1984.

Edited to add subheads calling out the six months faux pas; added second six month quote and corrected broken link to THOMAS..

  • slamfu

    All good info, but two things. It sounds like he did offer a retraction, although late. The GOP has set the bar pretty low imho, so I think that makes him practically a RINO for taking it back.

    Second, after the first 20 weeks, you are in the 6th month, so his statement was correct in saying it doesn’t impede things until then.

    Lastly, I still have no idea where they get off telling a woman who has an unintended pregnancy, especially one via violent sexual assault, what to do with her body and her future.

  • justcowboyway

    Lastly, I still have no idea where they get off telling a woman who has an unintended pregnancy, especially one via violent sexual assault, what to do with her body and her future.

    excellence point

  • sheknows

    This attitude toward abortion stems from an attitude toward women in general. These men,( and some women) like Franks think a woman should be wearing a scarlet letter in our society. This is not a concern so much for human life, as a condemnation of women. Their actual thinking is that MOST of these pregnancies were consensual, and even the ones that were not was probably due to some fault of the female. These are the jurors in a rape trial that actually BELIEVE she had it coming to her for whatever reason.
    The abortion issue is merely an extension of a puritanical view of women and has NOTHING to do with the preservation of life IMO.
    Her carrying a child to term IS her scarlet letter and she has to pay for her sin.

  • JSpencer

    Apparently republicans think their desire to subjegate women will somehow appeal to them as voters. Same old neanderthal mentality at work.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    Pls help me understand how the mid-point of a pregnancy – 20 weeks – morphs into the third trimester.

    I’ve not been pregnant but I can do math.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    Here’s the week by week guide. 20 weeks is NOT month 6. http://www.whattoexpect.com/pr.....nding.aspx

  • roro80

    The incontrovertably disproven myth of rape preventing conception is old and ugly. It’s recorded as “fact” as early as the 13th century, when it was attributed to women needing to orgasm in order to conceive (also not true). It was “tested” in concentration camps by Nazi scientists by telling women they were being sent to the gas chambers and then seeing if they ovulate; a lower-than-average % of ovulation was recorded, so they said the trauma of rape would also cause women not to ovulate. (Note: among things that do affect fertility is starvation, and seeing as this experiment took place in a concentration camp…well.)

    It’s a myth that is golden to those who hate women, because it works on two levels: (1) if she got pregnant it either wasn’t rape or she secretly liked it, and (2) we don’t need to write laws that protect against forced birth for rape victims because if she got pregnant it wasn’t really rape.

    I know science isn’t the GOP’s strong suit, but to lie about simple facts to force rape victims to give birth is just about as sick a mentality as I can think of.

  • roro80

    Also — thanks for writing the article, Kathy. Don’t forget that math is hard! These same folks will tell you that the Earth is 6000 years old, so the passage of time is not something they’re good at gauging in any reliable manner.

  • http://wiredpen.com KATHY GILL, Technology Policy Analyst

    Thx, Roro80.