All In   |  June 12, 2013

GOP rep. reiterates controversial rape comments

Rep. Trent Franks made some waves talking about the "very low" instances of pregnancies resulting from rape. As Chris Hayes points out, the forum in which Franks made the comments is as outrageous as his actual words.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> before when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject because you -- you know, the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.

>> that was republican trent franks making a variation of an argument you may have heard somewhere before. just in case you weren't exactly sure if you heard him correctly. franks repeated the claim when nbc cameras caught up with him.

>> the incidences where pregnancy from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are very rare.

>> very rare. does that sound familiar to you?

>> first of all, from what i understand from doctors, that's really rare. if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

>> in some ways what we saw today was progress. this is what progress looks like. trent franks stopped himself from going the full todd aiken here. franks had no comments on shutting that whole thing down. but what he failed to do was heed the simple advice of gop pollsters who told house republican caucus members to flat out stop talking about rape earlier this year. rape is a four letter word they were told. don't say it. but here's congressman franks today putting the spotlight on a republican party with an earned reputation for lacking sensitivity for women's issues.

>> i find it astonishing to hear a phrase repeated that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is low. there's no scientific basis for that. the idea that the republican men on this committee think they can tell the women of america that they have to carry to term the product of a rape is outrageous.

>> so who put trent franks in a position and forced him to talk about this stuff? the answer? trent franks ? because this is trent franks crusade. he was speaking about a bill he introduced to the house judiciary committee . a bill that has zero political future but allows him to make on the record statements like this.

>> i don't think any of us would argue a compiled should be killed because of the sins of an evil rainist, what we need to do is be harder on the rapist. i wonder how many of my colleagues on the other side say we should suggest death penalty for the rapist, but they do for the child.

>> this is a reintroduction and expansion of a bill that franks previously drafted to apply only to washington, d.c.. similar statewide laws like the one in arizona have been struck down by federal appeals courts. and the constitutionality of the franks bill is at best highly dubious.

>> this legislation is especially dangerous, because it is a direct challenge to the supreme court 's ruling in roe versus wade . the supreme court says viability viability --

>> it is a bill with no chance of passing the senate and no chance of being upheld by the courts. this is what the house republican caucus does day in and day out. they use their staff's energy and the scarce legislative resources of a body of congress that is stretched thin to put on a show. and under house speaker john boehner , they rarm even work, the 113th congress has only 126 planned days in a session. a whopping 34 and a half% of the year. so -- and i noticed this, we come in the morning and write on the board what's going on. it's amazing how rarely something's happening in the house. but on that rare day they're actually working with the limited resources at their disposal to tackle the nation's problems, this is what the house republican caucus is doing. debating a bill that is profoundly unconstitutional as an act of pure theater. it's the same thing they're doing when they go to repeal obama care 39 times. they're a bunch of ideologically zealous teenagers. politics of symbolism, not of law making . might as well fire up the performance art engine, destroy some art class project in effigy or make some elaborate puppetry. there's nothing wrong with any of this when you're powerless. expressing dissidents and frustration and rage at the status quo and you're powerless, that's an important part of engagement of politics. i've done that, and those of you outside the political process who want the people in power to hear your voices i say right on. you elected members of the house of representatives are part of the government running the country. we pay you to do the very difficult and important work of governing, there's a budget that needs to be passed. there are 12 million unemployed people. 11 million people who could be deported at a moment's notice. there are 66,000 troops in afghanistan. for the love of god, work on that stuff. you are not sent to the highest halls of power so you can spend all of your time staging the equivalent of those campus conservative clown shows that sponsor affirmative action bake sales . get it together and grow up. we'll be right back.