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..