Gov. Abbott Claims Texas Will ‘Eliminate’ Rapists In Defending Abortion Ban

Governor of Texas Greg Abbott, Texas Governor, defended the controversial state's near-total ban against abortion and its absence of exceptions to victims of rape or incest Tuesday. He misleadingly stated that rape victims could still obtain abortions under the law, and claimed that the government would eliminate all rapists from the state.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks in Tyler (Texas) on September 7. ASSOCIATED PRS

The Key Facts

Since its inception, Texas' Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) has been subject to significant criticism. The law prohibits abortions once a fetal beat is detected. This term has been criticized by medical experts as misleading and has an exception for medical emergencies. When Abbott was asked Tuesday about the law that forces rape victims and incest victims, Abbott said it doesn't. The law provides six weeks for an individual to obtain an abortion. This is a term medical experts have called misleading. Also, the six-week calculation is based on a woman's last period. This means that the window for an abortion may be two weeks, even if they find out early enough. Abbott claimed that the Texas government would reduce pregnancies by rape and would aggressively go out and arrest [rapists], prosecute them, and get them off the streets. However, the vast majority are not prosecuted, convicted, or reported to police.

Big Number

310 out 1000. This is the number of reported sexual assaults, according to RAINN statistics based on U.S. Department of Justice information. The FBI reported that there were 24,986 rape related arrests in 2019. This is the most recent available year. In 2018, the Washington Post estimated that less than 1 percent of all rapes or attempted rapes lead to felony convictions.

Chief Critics

Abortion rights advocates have voiced widespread opposition to Abbott's Tuesday comments. Greg Abbott lies about rape victims still being allowed to have an abortion. Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and presidential candidate, tweeted Tuesday. Ultraviolet, meanwhile, said that Abbott's comments were inappropriate.

Important Background

SB 8, which was passed last week, will likely block around 85% of Texas abortions, according to abortion providers. It is the most severe anti-abortion law in America since 1973's Roe v. Wade. The law fails to include exceptions for incest and rape. SB 8 also has drawn controversy because it is only enforceable by private citizens. They are authorized to sue anyone who assists or abets abortions and can receive at least $10,000 if they succeed. Many have accused SB 8 of placing a bounty on abortion seekers. It has been opposed by Democrats, Lyft, Uber and Bumble, as well as other anti-abortion Republicans. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Republican from Illinois) and Maryland Governor. Larry Hogan and the Maryland Governor said Sunday that they think the laws lawsuit enforcement mechanism is too broad. Kinzinger also criticized the law's incest and rape exceptions.

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