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. DarqueSide

    So now it's the GOP advocating a 'big government' approach to something more private than emails and phone calls. Typical of these hypocrites. All talk about liberty and freedom except when it comes to women's bodies and gay marriage.

    June 17, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Mopery

    Republicans want more overpopulation, they want more children born to mothers unfit to raise them, because they are looking at their long-term goal: Enslavement of the lower classes through the private prison system. Laws will become more and more strict, surveillance is increasing by the minute, and eventually everyone without a highly paid lawyer will find themselves in prison making products for multinational corporations. Those little slights of this law or that, the ones that affect no one, can now be enforced in our rapidly approaching dystopian society. Stand up for your rights, or be the prole they want you to be.

    June 17, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Analystgirl

    No compromise! If you don't want a legal abortion, just don't have one.
    Mind your own darn business!

    June 17, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. Bob

    Roe v. Wade didn't disappear.

    June 17, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Sigh

    I don't believe murdering a baby is right at any stage of development, but come on even if you were for the murder of babies if rape was involved the person raped would have known from day 1. Why wait until the baby is viable to abort, so sick! Just carry the baby to term and give him/her up for adoption. So disgusted with this society we live in. I'm also tired of the whole men have no voice. I'm a woman I think men should have a say. I know men who've had thier babies murdered against their will that not a day goes by they don't think of their murdered child. Babies have fathers. They should have rights to their child too.

    June 17, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Nellibly

    There's no compromise here. Men still telling women what they can and can't do with their own bodies. They have no right and women need to stand up and make that clear at the voting booth.

    June 17, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Chuckster

    Great way to incentivize false accusations of rape and incest.

    June 17, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "The Party of Stupid is learning...........very slowly."

    Reactionary self-serving changes to proposed legislation that occur solely because polling and public outcry indicate that the vast majority of the public don't like something is not "learning."

    June 17, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Anastasia Beverhausen

    GOP – stay out of my vajayjay.

    June 17, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Ashlar

    I know many people are against abortion. That is fine. Women should have the option to carry a pregnancy through to full term if that is what they believe. However, the same woman should be able to terminate the pregnancy if they do not want to carry it through. It is a choice up to each individual, and no others should be able to take away the option. Just because one person does not support it does not mean that one person has the right to speak for, or make laws for, everyone else.

    June 17, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Joe

    Talk about out of touch with reality. Who do they think they're compromising with? The people who already have it their way?

    June 17, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Hap

    So much for the states rights party. Shame on these men, they are the fastest growing minority and they want to drag this country down as far as they can before they become irrelevant. Save a few of the living for a change instead of playing to your core you jerks. Gerrymandering is all that's keeping them afloat, they'll never win another national election unless they change their ways. That requires more than putting the same message out in a different wrapper, but they're not ready to admit that yet. So we all have to suffer.

    June 17, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)


    All guys should stay out of this. Republicans are digging their graves.
    I see you're a proud supporter of killing babies. CONGRATS!!!

    June 17, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. Jason

    If the re publicans want to ban abortion they better pay to raise those unwanted kids. The prime reason for most abortions are financial

    June 17, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. Dana from Tulsa

    Why would a woman violated by rape wait 20 weeks to get an abortion? Late term abortion involves the dismembering of a pain-sensing hunan being, It's just plain wrong.

    June 17, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. markiejoe

    Don't you love Republican men making these decisions for all women?

    June 17, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Juxtapoz

    Ahhh the GOP, wasting time and taxpayer money that COULD have been spent on 'jobs,jobs,jobs' EVERY chance they get.

    June 17, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. CAWinMD

    it must be said said "If liberals want to ban, control and limit firearms, ammunition and magazines all under the guise of just saving one single life, then they are going to have to vote for this bill for the very same reason."

    Tell ya what. How about a bill that bans late-term abortions (with exceptions for rape, incest, and the mother's physical well-being) and include in the bill all the gun control legislation that was voted down earlier this year along with allowing the Feds to gather data about the purchasing and movement of guns. That way both the born and the unborn get something out of this. Deal?

    Yeah, I thought not...

    June 17, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. jesus

    abortion bills > jobs
    forcing your religious fairy tales on others > jobs
    party of stewped > science

    June 17, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. jblah

    what i don't understand is how republicans are all Anti Government but they are perfectly fine with government coming into someones PERSONAL life and telling them what to do. if you want to ban abortions, why don't you ban people from purchasing guns left and right? Why don't you get rid of executions? this is so contradictory.

    June 17, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. Edwin

    Go republicans! Good to know they blame the economy on Obama and are so concerned with creating more jobs... Oh, wait – wrong article...

    Never mind, there was never an article about how the GOP wanted to actually help the economy recover, because they don't want it to. If the economy improved, Obama might get some of the credit – and that would get in the way of their anti-Obama agenda.

    June 17, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. Independent Thinker

    Richard Miller, it take two to tango. The father, as long as he is not a deadbeat or a rapist, should at least have a say. For many of us, it is NOT A SIMPLE ISSUE! It should not be a simple issue for anyone! In a MORAL society, the BABY has EQUAL rights to that of the mother. I just do not understand the callousness of those on the left who support abortion on demand with no limitations. I see abortion as sanctioned murder so that women AND men can avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes. And it is not just abortion. There is alarming number of people in our society who do not want to take responsibility for any of their mistakes.

    June 17, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. Shola

    im soo confused I need a sensible republican/conservative (if one exists) to explain this to me... ....

    if Abortion is truly the murder of an innocent human being created by God, why on earth would anyone be permitted to murder the innocent child, because of the sins of the biological father?? ... when you say abortion is murder, then you have made an absolutist argument; this rape/incest amendment makes no sense, ............ except the female vote is more important than their morals/faith

    the media is spending waaay too much time talking about irrelevancies like Zimmerman and Obama's poll numbers... what happened to the investigative journalism that used to make CNN one of the best?? am I the only one that's seeing the hypocrisy/contradiction in the conservative stance? why isn't anyone asking the these questions? ....

    June 17, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. tabs

    many many many many rapes go unreported.... reporting rape and ending an unwanted pregnancy because of rape should not have to go hand in hand..... would the rape have to be proven to end the unwanted pregnancy? would there have to be a suspect? personally, i am pro choice. and to me, the motivation behind the choice is irrelevant. it ends the same, end of unwanted life. to end abortion, we need to stop unwanted pregnancy, period. education. contraceptives, morning after pill, etc.

    June 17, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Independent Thinker

    The courageous and responsible thing to do is not to have the abortion. If you lack the resources or the will to take care of the baby, give the baby up for adoption.

    June 17, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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