The spokesman drew a parallel to comments made during the 2012 campaign by former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) who said that in instances of "legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
"As when similar comments were voiced, we take great issue with them," Carney said.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Franks said his comments were intended simply to point out that pregnancies resulting from rape are usually terminated before the 20th week.
“Pregnancies from rape that result in abortion after the beginning of the sixth month are very rare,” Franks said in a statement. “This bill does not address unborn children in earlier gestations. Indeed, the bill does nothing to restrict abortions performed before the beginning of the 6th month.”
He also slammed Democrats for attacking his remarks.
"My friends on the other side of the aisle want to inject the rape and incest question into the debate," Franks said. "They've been trying to inject that issue whether it belongs in the discussion or not."
Franks's late-term abortion ban contains only one exception — for women whose lives are in danger — but would still apply in cases of severe fetal anomaly and in cases of rape and incest.
Republicans unanimously blocked three Democratic amendments to expand these exceptions, and the bill advanced to the floor unchanged.
Democrats blasted the measure as an example of what they portray as the GOP’s “war on women,” and noted that no GOP women sit on the 39-member Judiciary Committee.
“There is no more eloquent a message to the women of America than the sight of an all-male Republican panel advancing a bill to restrict women’s health choices,” said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
— Elise Viebeck contributed.