Rep. Trent Franks tries to clarify his comments on rape

Published: Thursday, June 13 2013 9:05 a.m. MDT

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said he was taken out of context Wednesday when he said "incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low."

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Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said he was taken out of context Wednesday when he said "incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low."

CNN's Ashley Killough and Diedre Walsh report the congressman's controversial comments came during a discussion about his proposal to ban abortion after 20 weeks. Franks said that is the time when unborn children can begin to feel pain.

Franks said he intended to say the number of abortions due to rape after the start of the sixth month of gestation would be low, not the number of rapes resulting in pregnancy.

"I told my staff to fasten their seat belts," Franks said to reporters on Wednesday, saying he knew Democrats would try and change what he said. "Unfortunately perhaps I assisted them a little bit in the phraseology that allowed them to do it."

Killough and Walsh reported that when Franks was asked about how his bill would deal with cases of rape or incest, he said it was "flawed" logic to think a woman would wait longer than six months to report being sexually assaulted.

"To say that we wait until then, to say that there's a rape or incest involved, is waiting too long," Franks said.

When he was asked why his proposed law doesn't require a woman to report a rape, Franks responded with his controversial comments.

"Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject — because you know the, the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low, but when you make that exception, there's usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours.

"And in this case, that's impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation, and that's what completely negates and vitiates the purpose of such an amendment," Franks said.

This isn't the first time a Republican politician has gotten into hot water with comments about rape. Last year, Rep. Todd Akin, who was running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, said a woman's body was capable of rejecting pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." He ended up losing the election.

Editor's Note: The original version of this story posted on June 13, 2013, failed to properly follow our editorial policies. The story was shortened on Oct. 8, 2013 to fall within our editorial guidelines for aggregation.

Read more about Rep. Frank's defense on CNN.

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