Channeling Todd Akin on Rape

Photograph by Dennis Brack/Bloomberg

Representative Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona, in Washington, D.C.

Updated at 5:10 pm EDT

Trent Franks has taken a page from Todd Akin’s playbook.

And he’s getting about the same reaction.

“Moron,” says Gabriel Gomez, a Republican running for Senate in Massachusetts.

It was Akin, the Republican former congressman from Missouri running for Senate last year, who suggested publicly that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill cruised to reelection as the Republican Party antagonized women in more than one contest last year.

It is Franks, a six-term Republican representative from Arizona, who said at the House Judiciary Committee today: “The incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy is very low.”

“I just find it astonishing to hear a phrase repeated that the incidence of pregnancy from rape is low. There’s no scientific basis for that,” countered California Democrat Zoe Lofgren.

Franks was speaking about his bill to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, saying it wouldn’t affect many rape victims. An amendment exemption rape victims failed.

“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 rape is outrageous,” Lofgren said, calling the measure an “extreme one” that is “destined to go nowhere.”

The committee of the Republican-run House approved the bill by a vote of 20-12.

Gomez, running against Democratic Rep. Ed Markey for Senate in Massachusetts, sought immediate distance from his fellow Republican out there on the campaign trail: “I think that he’s a moron and he proves that stupid has no specific political affiliation,” Gomez told ABC News.

If elected, Gomez said, he will not support the bill Franks has sponsored. While personally anti-abortion, he said, he would not “change any laws” or make it more difficult for women to get abortions.

“I have no idea what goes into the mind of a moron like that,” he added. “These kinds of comments only come from a moron and they shouldn’t be tolerated one bit.”

“The debate that unfolded in the committee today was deeply disturbing and a profound disservice to women,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families. “It was appalling that committee members rejected amendments that would have guaranteed an exception to the ban in cases of rape or incest, or if the health of the woman was in danger.  Equally disturbing were comments that minimized the trauma rape survivors experience.”

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