House GOP leaders add rape exception to abortion bill
June 17th, 2013
05:22 PM ET
9 years ago

House GOP leaders add rape exception to abortion bill

Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders are hoping to head off a repeat of last week's controversy over the issue of whether there should be an exception for cases of rape and incest in a GOP sponsored bill banning late term abortions by adding that exception before the House debates the measure on Tuesday.

Republican members on the House Judiciary committee, which marked up the abortion bill last week, voted down a Democratic amendment to allow women who are raped to obtain an abortion beyond 22 weeks into a pregnancy. But House GOP leaders decided to add a slightly different exception to the bill after several GOP members expressed concerns about the issue, according to two House Republican leadership aides. The new language permits an exception for those women who get pregnant through rape or incest to obtain an abortion if they report the crime to the authorities first.

Last week the late term abortion bill's sponsor, Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks, ignited a controversy when he argued against any exception for rape being added to the bill. During the Judiciary panel's markup on the bill Franks said "the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low."

Rep Zoe Lofgren, D-California, a member of the Judiciary committee, immediately pushed back, arguing, "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."

Franks later acknowledged his comments opened the door to the discussion of rape and abortion, a topic that caused backlash in the run up to the 2012 election when then GOP Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said the female body could prevent pregnancy during cases of "legitimate rape."

But Franks stood by his comments, and told reporters he was discussing the rare instances of abortions in the six month of pregnancy from women who are raped.

Democrats were quick to point out that there are no female GOP members on the Judiciary panel. Mindful of the optics of another abortion debate–this time on the House floor–dominated by men, House GOP leaders tapped Tennessee Republican Rep Marsha Blackburn to manage the debate on the House floor instead of Franks. Blackburn co-sponsored the bill and is close to GOP leaders and has been critical about the need for the party to include more female voices. One GOP aide told CNN that leaders are encouraging Republican women who support the measure to participate in the floor debate on Tuesday.

It's doubtful that the procedural move to add the rape exception to the bill will stifle House Democrats' spotlight on the issue. House Democratic leaders have repeatedly emphasized that the measure, which is unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-led Senate, was scheduled for a vote while Americans would rather see action on items focused on the struggling economy. They believe independent voters, who could be a pivotal block in the next election, will be turned off by the focus on a controversial social issue.

Filed under: Abortion • House
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. just sayin

    GOP is all about attacking voters rights, labor rights, and women's reproductive rights.

    yes, attacking voter fraud.

    yes, attacking forced union membership and forced dues.

    yes, attacking the slaughter of millions of innocent babies under the guise of reproductive rights, reproduction rights do not give women the right to murder their baby, before birth or after birth.

    June 17, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. anonymous

    This is not banning abortion. Women have 20 weeks to decide, 5 months. After that you do not have the right to terminate the life of your baby, unless there are truly life threatening issues that can be proven to be so.

    June 17, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Walker

    A simple solution to the dilemma: Forced castration of all males. If the government wants to take away a woman's choice of whether or not to have children, they should also take away the man's choice.

    June 17, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. I CARE

    no compromise

    June 17, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Chris

    Read the headline people. LATE term abortions. Those are disgusting. Get that through your heads if it isn't already.

    June 17, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    One small step by the party of angry old white men.

    June 17, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. are122

    allow women who are raped to obtain an abortion beyond 22 weeks into a pregnancy. <~~ I guess it must take them that long to decide if they were raped.

    June 17, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. mms

    ender....well said!
    This has NOTHING to do with Roe vs Wade! Women will still have their reproductive rights! They should know by 22 weeks if they want an abortion. This is about the sick practice of supporting the murder of babies!

    June 17, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  9. They only care about Fetuses

    So if your an unborn fetus then Republicans care about you but the second you breathe air your on your own. GET A JOB GROUCH, no free lunch you mooching 6 year old living under the poverty line, no head start, no education for poor schools

    Clearly we're an overpopulated world and if someone is seriously looking into abortion then they probably wont be a good parent resulting in another MOOCHER so why should they care? All of the sudden ones actions effect many but why is it not the other way around?

    June 17, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. mms

    it must be said.......absolutely agree!!!!

    June 17, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. Mr Mike

    That's so Christian of them!

    June 17, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    The Kermit Gosnell (liberals) class is here tonight I see.

    June 17, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. TAK

    Republicans want small government... Small enough to fit in your bedroom.

    June 17, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. JPDontGetIT

    LOL, the fact that the GOP has to debate whether rape and incest are sufficient cause for an abortion continues to show how out of touch the Republican Party has become.

    June 17, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. jon

    I can't wait for 2014 when all of the Republicans get booted out of office. It is going to be GREAT!

    June 17, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. stainpouch

    Look to Mississippi for the Republican agenda–and hey, when has Mississippi ever screwed up in the past?

    June 17, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Former GOP

    .............the GOP has agreed to spell the first 2 letters of ab............

    June 17, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Sunnysmom

    The GOP's new slogan: Government so small, it fits ONLY into a uterus.

    June 17, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Filthburger

    Would be great if the Republicans actually put forth a bill to help the economy, such as a jobs bill. Instead they repeal Obamacare and now going after abortion. sigh.

    June 17, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. tmatsch

    "Pro-Life, except for..." equals Pro-Choice. Which also equals 75% of the electorate!

    June 17, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. deadlikeme

    6 months? Do some women take that long to decide they don't want to bear the demon's seed. Sorry, but 5 minutes after the positive test, I would be calling up the clinic to make an appointment, I could never carry that animal's child.

    June 17, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  22. Sean

    So, if a woman is raped, it is ok to murder the child?

    June 17, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. felimarie

    I don't really get the need for late term abortions. That being said, we really need to focus on getting rid of the "need" for abortions in the first place. Conservatives are going to hate this but we need to make contraceptives more readily available and teach sexual education. We need to stop alienating single mothers (a man took part in the making of the baby). I always thought it would be way more productive to actually help a woman wanting an abortion than to chastise her. Offer to help with her medical bills,help find a loving family for the baby etc. But then the same people who don't what an innocent baby killed would argue against giving a "freeloader" help. You can't have it both ways. You either have to help these mothers or allow abortion. Late term however? You kind of should know if you want the baby well before that time.

    June 17, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. Konadreamer

    This is the only issue that seems to be motivating the GOP to anything resembling action. I guess this is just throwing meat to the dogs for them, seeing as how most people are slowly losing their respect for the party of Lincoln and Reagan.

    June 17, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. spudnik56

    What a waste of time. This idiotic bill will never pass...

    June 17, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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