WaPo Fact Checker Retracts Pinocchios for Trent Franks

Rep. Trent Franks / AP

The Washington Post fact checker withdrew the "Four Pinocchios" given to Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) Friday for his statement that pregnancy from rape is "very low," reports the Weekly Standard.

Glenn Kessler’s update said:

Update, June 14: Ben Carnes, communications director for Franks, says that Franks misspoke and intended to refer to the number of abortions due to rape. We had originally awarded Four Pinocchios for Franks’ statement, but in light of the clarification, we have removed the rating from this column. We don’t try to play gotcha here, and might not have written a column if Carnes had responded to our initial inquiry. In any case, given that some readers interpreted Franks’s statement differently, it no longer appears appropriate to have a rating.

According to the Weekly Standard, it was unclear if Franks was saying that the number of abortions from rape was "small as a percentage of total abortion (which is true)" or if he meant that the rate of pregnancy is "lower for forced sex than consensual sex (which is false)."

Kessler assumed the latter in his original column: "Franks raises an interesting issue: What is the incidence of pregnancy after a rape? And is it much lower than rate of pregnancy after consensual sex?"

But Franks never made the comparison between the rate of pregnancy resulting from rape and the rate of pregnancy resulting from consensual sex. So there was no reason to assume that's what he was saying. Good on Kessler for being open to listening to new arguments and facts and updating his post accordingly.