Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) defended his state’s six-week abortion ban on Tuesday, dismissing concerns that it does not provide exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.
First, he said, “it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.”
Second, Abbott essentially promised to get rid of rape in the state of Texas.
“Rape is a crime,” he said. “And Texas will work tirelessly to make sure we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets.”
Abbott made his comments on the same day he signed a sweeping law restricting voting rights.
The governor’s claim that people have six weeks to get an abortion is completely detached from reality and the way pregnancy works. Many people don’t even realize they’re pregnant until after the six-week mark.
“Unless a woman is actively trying to get pregnant, she is unlikely to know that she is pregnant at six weeks,” Dr. Sarah Horvath, a family planning fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told The New York Times.
In other words, a six-week ban is essentially a ban on abortion, period.
The Texas bill is the first six-week ban in the nation to go into effect after the Supreme Court refused to block it.
The state deputizes and incentivizes private citizens ― even those who aren’t Texas residents ― to sue individuals involved in “aiding or abetting” an abortion. That could be a doctor, a friend or even the driver who dropped the pregnant person off at the clinic.
The law does not allow rapists to sue, but as the Texas Tribune noted, that provision offers “flimsy protection.” Many instances of rape and sexual assault aren’t reported and don’t result in a conviction, meaning rapists could still very well sue ― unless every single person who has ever raped someone is rounded up, as Abbott promises.