The Fringe Factor: Rape Still Won't Get You Pregnant

Our weekly roundup of bold statements from our fearless political leaders.

Arizona: Rape Rarely Results in Pregnancy

Didn’t we go over this already? Apparently the backlash surrounding Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s controversial—and wildly inaccurate--claim that you can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” didn’t make an impact on Trent Franks. In an attempt to argue that a bill he authored banning abortions after 20 weeks should not have an exception for cases of rape and incest, the Republican representative from Arizona declared this week that “the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” Needless to say the blowback was almost immediate, with Nancy Pelosi’s office, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee each sending out mass emails decrying Franks’s comments. But the representative didn’t back down. In a surprise appearance at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in D.C. Thursday night, Franks told a room of cheering conservative activists, “I’ve been through the spin dryer here in the last 48 hours and I wish I hadn’t assisted them so much to that end. But somehow in the long run, truth and time travel the same road. And we are very blessed that the Lord that we serve will prevail in the final analysis no matter what.” He’s also taken advantage of the hate he’s getting from pro-choice groups as an opportunity to fundraise, writing in an email to supporters, “NARAL, Planned Parenthood and the taxpayer-funded abortion lobby is attacking me for one reason—I’m 100 percent unapologetically pro-life and I won’t back down. Will you contribute $25, $50, $100 or even $500 right now to help me fight back?”

Iowa: Illegal Immigration is like Bank Robbery

Another day, another outrageous comment from Steve King. The representative from Iowa made us cringe not once, but twice this week when discussing his favorite topic, immigration. First, on Thursday, about two dozen members of the undocumented youth organization United We Dream showed up at King’s office to protest his effort to defund President Obama’s deferred deportation program for young illegal immigrants. Not pleased to see them, King tweeted, “20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office. Obama’s lawless order gives them de facto immunity from U.S. law.” The next day, the Iowan took to the House floor to argue for the necessity of deportation of illegal immigrants. “Think of it this way: If someone goes in and robs a bank and step out on the steps of the bank with the sack of the loot and law enforcement appears and says, sorry, you can’t keep the loot and we’re going to put that back in the bank but you can go. That’s the equivalent of removal,” he explained. “You don’t get to keep the objective of the crime, we put you back in the condition you were in before you committed the crime. That’s not draconian.”

Wisconsin: More Abortion Obstacles

It’s about to become a lot harder to get an abortion in Wisconsin. A bill mandating that any woman seeking an abortion first undergo a transvaginal ultrasound has sailed through the Wisconsin State Assembly and is on its way to Governor Scott Walker, who's already promised to sign it into law. The measure also includes a provision to shut down one of the last four abortion clinics in the state, and requires that any doctor have admitting privileges at a hospital in order to legally perform an abortion. In a speech before the vote, Republican State Representative Pat Strachota said that the bill was “about having full knowledge of the decision that women are about to make” when considering an abortion.

North Carolina: No Gun Permit? No Problem

North Carolina is taking gun rights to a whole new level with a new bill that proposes scrapping the current requirement to obtain a permit to purchase a handgun. Under the bill, which received a Senate Judiciary committee’s seal of approval this week, handgun owners would still need to get a permit for concealed carry, but they’d be allowed to take that concealed weapon to a lot more places, including virtually any school, parade or funeral procession—unless explicitly prohibited--as well as bars and anywhere else that serves alcohol as long as the establishment’s owner doesn’t have a problem with it. This bill is the latest example of the hard-right turn North Carolina politics have taken recently, spurring six weeks of protests led by the NAACP.

Oklahoma: Enough With the Global Warming

Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine thinks President Obama owes his state an apology for all the money he’s wasted on climate change research, since it is very unlikely that global warming has anything to do with all the violent tornadoes that have wreaked havoc on Oklahoma recently. “Here is what we absolutely know. We know that Oklahoma will have tornadoes when the cold jet stream meets the warm gulf air. And we also know that this president spends 30 times as much money on global warming research as he does on weather forecasting and warning,” Bridenstine said during a one-minute speech on the House floor this week. “For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the president’s apology, and I intend to submit legislation to fix this.” According to Politifact, while Bridenstine is right that climate change research outweighs government spending on weather forecasting, his 30 to 1 claim is “mostly false.”