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Last year, Todd Aiken made “legitimate rape” part of the political lexicon and Richard Mourdock digressed into misogynistic theology with a claim that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended.” The comments by the two Republican candidates ensured Democratic control of the Senate through 2014.
Last month, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) resurrected Akin’s trope in defense of a bill restricting abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exception for rape: “because, you know, the incidences of rape resulting in a pregnancy are very low.”
Franks’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed 228-to-196, with six Republicans opposing it and six Democrats voting for it. Public reaction to Frank’s comments compelled him to include exceptions for rape (if the woman reports the assault to the police within 48 hours), and incest (if the victim is a minor). Franks’ bill will not pass the Senate.
If Republicans cannot yet prevail in Congress, Republican governors are signing extreme anti-abortion bills into law at the state level. Statistics regarding abortion suggest that what has been characterized as a “Republican War on Women” is a war on poor women.