Another Republican politician - this time Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and no I've never heard of him before - is going through the media wringer after daring to put the words "abortion" and "rape" into the same sentence. He actually had good reason to as all he was trying to say was that the incidence of abortions resulting from rape were low. Not that this matters. Outrageous outrage is going down as we speak, but that's not really my concern. I'm more exorcised by the likes of ostensible center-right commentator Jonathon S. Tobin* who declares Cong. Franks to be an unfortunate manifestation of the "moron factor" sapping the GOP of it manly essence.
Republicans have spent the last several months arguing about the lessons of the 2012 election with both establishment types and grass roots activists mixing it up on a variety of issues. But if there was one conclusion that surely everyone in the party agreed upon it was that GOP candidates and officials needed to avoid mentioning rape, especially when discussing their opposition to abortion. The spectacular idiocy of Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin—who publicly doubted that women could become pregnant as a result of rape—didn’t just transform his opponent Claire McCaskill from a certain loser to an easy winner and sink Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock, when the latter said something not quite as foolish. It also allowed Democrats to trash all Republicans as Neanderthal nitwits seeking to abuse women.
But apparently Arizonan Republican Representative Trent Franks didn’t get the memo. Franks demonstrated that yesterday when he claimed during a Judiciary Committee debate that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is “very low.” But Franks had to repeat the assertion even in a later clarification before he realized what he had done. With a single phrase, Franks had handed Democrats on the committee and elsewhere a chance to revive their fake “War on Women” theme that helped mobilize the Democratic base in 2012. Though it can be asserted that they didn’t need any new excuses to try the same tactic in 2014, Franks has made it a lot easier. Just as was the case in 2012, Republicans are learning the hard way that foolish statements—even if they are ripped out of their context or unfairly characterized—allow Democrats to change the subject from serious moral issues to a topic they’d rather talk about: why some Republicans are morons.Oh, come on. Republicans will always suffer for their abortion related "gaffes" because the pro-abortion crowd only wants to discuss baby killing in the context of these sorts of meltdowns. There was nothing factually incorrect in Franks' statement. (although we don't know what the exact percentage of abortions arise from rape). I can't imagine there is a huge number of rapes resulting in pregnancy. (statutory rape is another matter, of course). And, the point he was trying to make is an important one. He's trying pass a bill outlawing abortions after 20 weeks - at this point, a six month preemie can easily survive outside the womb - and responding to NARAL types wailing about rape:
After the committee meeting, Franks told POLITICO: “My bill does nothing to restrict abortion even before the first five months, so all issues related to rape are long since dealt with.”
He said that Democrats are the ones who “constantly want to inject” rape into the abortion debate and have done so ever since the original Roe v Wade case. By focusing on rape instead on “the child that was being killed” they try to change the dynamics of the debate, he said. “So sometimes Republicans get beat up for having to respond to it, but it’s always the left that brings it up because it results in Republicans getting beat up by it.”Agreed that pro-life Republicans probably need a seminar to practice their lines for moments like this, but what are they supposed to say? The rape question always comes up, and it needs to be batted away, only it can't be batted away because the left brings up rape precisely to strike the sort of gaffe gold they found in Todd Akin.
Democrats make all sorts of moronic, not to mention evil, claims re: abortion. Just today Nancy Pelosi made some crazy comment that late-term abortions are "sacred ground." (ugh!) She also responded to questions about the murderous abuses of Kermit Gosnell by saying she deplored them, but, no, did not plan to work to pass any legislation that would make Gosnell's practices illegal. Give me the "moron" Trent Franks any day over this.
* can't forget the "S." Jonathon Sssssssssssssss. Tobin, ladies and gentlemen!