Greg Abbott Says Rape Exemption Not Necessary For Abortion Law Because Texas Will 'Eliminate All Rapists'

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greg abbott texas

Just when you think Texas' respect for bodily autonomy and reproductive rights couldn't get any worse, Greg Abbott has outdone himself. 

The Texas Governor has been under a lot of scrutiny recently following Senate Bill 8’s going into effect on September 1st.

When asked during a press conference how he could allow women who are victims of rape or incest carry their pregnancy to term, he defended the bill with questionable statements.

Governor Greg Abbott defended Texas' abortion law by pledging to 'eliminate all rapists.'

“Why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?” one news reporter asked — one of the many questions we've all been thinking. 

The governor’s response was that “It doesn’t require that at all because obviously it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.”

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The Texas governor continued with his statement. 

“That said, however, let’s make something very clear,” he said. “Rape is a crime and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that 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.”

This statement was met with applause from those present at the news conference, but "eliminating all rapists" is not as easy as Governor Abbott makes it out to be.

Greg Abbott's comments completely misunderstand the reality of rape.

In 2019, the Texas Department of Safety reported more than 14,000 rapes. Charges resulted in just 23.7% and figures on how many convictions were made are unknown.

Other studies show that 90% of sexual assaults go unreported in Texas.

In a state that is already failing sexual assault victims so horrendously, Abbott's pledge to eliminate rape rings hollow. 

During an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday, Representative Lizzie Fletcher (D-Tex.) said “I would love to see Texas address violence against women, but that is not what this bill does.

“It’s kind of this magical thinking that’s typical of [Abbott’s] approach to governing, that he’ll give an answer that is really untethered to the reality of what he’s doing.”

Another Texas state Rep. Gene Wu (D) made a tweet mocking Abbott's comments, saying “Wait. Governor Abbott had a solution to end all RAPE and he sat on it until now?”

After the Supreme Court ruled in opposition to abortion rights when the bill was shown to them, Democrats like Fletcher and Wu rushed to criticize the decision and condemn Abbott’s actions.

President Biden slammed the Supreme Court ruling, saying it  “unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts.”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor herself was a lot more critical of her colleagues.

“The Court’s order is stunning,” she wrote. “Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-N.Y.), said during an appearance on CNN that Abbott’s comments were “disgusting.”

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"He speaks from such a place of deep ignorance,” she said, “and it's not just ignorance. It's ignorance that's hurting people."

If Abbott wants to eliminate rape, he needs to respect women's bodily autonomy.

Until women in Texas are given the right to take ownership of their bodies and reproductive health, violence against them will likely continue.

Ocasio-Cortez believes that rape culture and misogynistic culture are behind the bill to begin with.

“None of this is about supporting life,” she said, “What this is about is controlling women’s bodies and controlling people who are not cisgender men.”

Governor Abbott’s words show a deep detachment from the reality of the world that rape and sexual assault survivors live in.

A lot of the people who commit these crimes, Ocasio-Cortez stressed, are people that the victims know, like family members, teachers, spouses, and not just predators on the streets.

If Abbott actually wants to address the needs of sexual assault survivors, he must first understand the reality of these crimes. 

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and politics.