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Arizona congressman: Incidence of pregnancy from rape 'very low'

June 12, 2013 at 3:42 PM

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., sponsor of a bill that would limit abortions to the first 20 weeks, said Wednesday few women become pregnant through rape.

Franks spoke at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on his bill, The Washington Post reported. He spoke against a Democratic amendment that would create exceptions for rape and incest.

"Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject -- because, you know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low," Franks said.

He also argued that a 20-week limit gives women who have been raped plenty of time to get abortions.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., compared Franks' remark to a statements in 2012 by then-Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and by other Republicans. Akin, during his failed run for U.S. Senate, suggested that bodily responses to rape prevent pregnancy.

"I just find it astonishing to hear a phrase repeated that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is low," Lofgren said. "There's no scientific basis for that. And the idea that the Republican men on this committee can tell the women of America that they have to carry to term the product of a rape is outrageous."

Studies have suggested that women, especially young women, are more likely to become pregnant from rape than from consensual sex.

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