Greg Abbott says Texas will “eliminate rape” and is defending the abortion legislation
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he intended to “eliminate rape” in his state, criticizing that a new law banning abortions after six weeks does not provide an exception for victims of rape and incest.
Texas law is the most restrictive law enacted since the US Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade in 1973. Abbott signed the law in May, and the US Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 last week against abortion rights groups trying to prevent the law from going into effect.
More:The Justice Department promises to protect those seeking an abortion from the new Texas law
Abortion rights groups have said that in some cases, the law could deny women access to abortions before they even know they are pregnant. There is no exception for rape or incest.
When asked Tuesday why the state would force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term, Abbott defended the law.
“Rape is a crime and Texas will work tirelessly to eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting, prosecuting and removing them from the streets. So goal # 1 in the state of Texas is to eradicate rape so that no woman or person is rape, ”he said on Tuesday.
For the first time since the Supreme Court ruling, Abbott said government-sponsored organizations would also “provide assistance to those who are victims of rape.”
In 2019, 14,656 rapes were reported in Texas, according to the State Department of Security. In the same year, about 2,200 people were arrested for rape.
The US Department of Justice has already promised to protect abortion providers who are exposed to violence and the women they serve.
White House shoots back at Abbott
The White House fired back on Abbott’s defense of the law on Wednesday.
“If Governor Abbott has a means to get rid of all rapists or all rape in the United States, there would be bipartisan support for that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing.
With Texas law going into effect, the US Department of Health is looking for ways “to ensure that we provide access to health care for women in Texas,” said Psaki.
“This law, or this bill that has been signed, is clearly something that we strongly oppose and it is imperative that we now seek and announce measures to support women,” she said.
Castro, AOC among Abbott’s critics
Abbott’s defense of the law met with criticism both inside and outside Texas.
Former US Secretary of State for Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro tweeted that Abbott was “lying”.
“Many women don’t even know they are after six weeks pregnant when abortion is forbidden in this law,” he wrote. “Victims of rape and incest would be forced to carry a pregnancy to term at this point – or to face civil lawsuits for an abortion.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Rep., DN.Y., said during an appearance on CNN that Abbott’s comments were “gross”.
Many rape victims are attacked by someone they know, she said, and may not want to “re-traumatize” themselves by bringing charges.
“This is not about supporting life,” she said. “It’s about controlling women’s bodies and controlling people who are not cis men.”