It is possible, even from the great distance of Maine, to hear the DC press corps exhale with a collective “OMiGod” at the remarkably ignorant declaration of Republican Congressman Trent Franks, who Aaron Blake and Laura Bassett and Garance Franke-Ruta explain, available research indicates that rape does not result in a lower pregnancy rate than consensual sex, and tens of thousands of pregnancies in the United States every year occur as the result or rape. In short, Trent Franks couldn’t be more wrong — and it’s on the back on his simply wrong claims that he’s trying to pass H.R. 1797, bill to force the criminalization of abortion upon the citizens of the District of Columbia, even in the case of rape.
As you hear partisan spinners declare Trent Franks’ counterfactual assertions to be an anomaly among Republicans, remember that it was less than a year ago that Republican Senator Todd Akin made the same claim.
As you watch his fellow Republicans back away rapidly from Trent Franks due to his impolitic manner of speaking, remember that until this afternoon, Trent Franks’ efforts were well-supported within Republican ranks. His bill to punish victims of rape out of ignorance is supported by a group of 171 cosponsors, a group that is overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly Republican.
As Republican leaders everywhere feign shock that a member of Congress like Trent Franks could dream up such a thing, look at the long-standing record of Trent Franks’ kooky extremism — it’s all a matter of public record.
- Trent Franks supported going to war on the basis of WMDs that DIDN’T actually exist, then voted to cut programs to stop WMDs that DO actually exist.
- In January 2011, Trent Franks read the 5th Amendment to the Constitution out loud for the cameras — then went off camera to vote in favor of the unconstitutional practice of indefinite detention without charge.
- At a time of disastrous oil spills, Trent Franks voted to gut safety standards on offshore oil rigs.
- Trent Franks is only pro-baby before they’re born. While he’s trying to take away women’s right to choose whether or not to have babies, Rep. Franks is also pushing hard to take away citizenship from babies born right here in the USA.
- Another anti-life choice by Trent Franks in the Congress is to prevent the ratification of the international Arms Trade Treaty in order to keep big weapons manufacturing contract dollars flowing, and munitions around the world flying.
- Trent Franks tried to push the government into collecting the reading lists of innocent Americans without a warrant to try to figure out which of them might turn into terrorists.
- Trent Franks tried to mandate the speaking of English and push Christian religious teachings down the throats of Americans.
These are just a few examples of Trent Franks’ extremist political practices. It’s been fairly clear for some time that Trent Franks’ thought-starved agenda was out of step with mainstream American ideals. But until he proved an embarrassment, the Republican Party held Trent Franks in a tight embrace as one of its own.