Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) entered the rape exception debate when speaking at a town hall on Thursday. When asked about abortion in cases of rape, Bartlett responded that there are so few pregnancies from rape that an exception would not be an issue. Congressman Bartlett is currently in a tight race to win re-election against Democrat John Delaney and Libertarian Nickolaus Mueller.
When asked specifically about cases of forcible rape [sic] in which a woman gets pregnant Bartlett replied “If you really – there are very few pregnancies as a result of rape, fortunately, and incest – compared to the usual abortion, what is the percentage of abortions for rape? It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percentage.”
Bartlett was challenged by member of the audience who pointed out that 20,000 pregnancies are the product of rape each year. The congressman responded “Yeah, I know, I know. But in terms of the percentage of pregnancies, percentage of abortions for rape as compared to overall abortions, it’s a tiny, tiny percentage.”
Abortion exceptions in case of rape became a topic of national discussion last month following candidate Todd Akin’s claim that “legitimate rape” does not often lead to pregnancy. The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Tom Smith, a wealthy business man, also stepped into the rape/abortion controversy when he compared a pregnancy conceived by rape to a pregnancy conceived simply out of wedlock.
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 9/1/12; Buzzfeed 8/31/12; Feminist Newswire 8/28/12, 8/24/12