Texas governor vows to “eliminate” rapists in defense of abortion law

Texas Governor Greg Abbott defended his state’s strict new abortion law, saying that it doesn’t force victims of rape and incest to carry babies to term because it “provides at least 6 weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.” 

At the signing for a GOP-supported voting bill on Tuesday, a reporter asked Abbott why he would “force” a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy stemming from sexual assault to term. The new abortion bill, which went into effect last week, outlaws abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy and well before many women even know they are pregnant. 

The governor responded that the bill “doesn’t require that at all because, obviously, it provides at least 6 weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.”

He also emphasized that “rape is a crime and Texas will work tirelessly 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.” 

The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that in 2019, there were more than 14,650 cases of rape in the state, making up nearly a quarter of all reported violent crimes. That same year, fewer than 3,900 people were arrested for rape and other sex offenses, according to the department. 

The bill also allows civilians to sue anyone who gets, helps someone get, or performs and abortion for up to $10,000. However, victims of rape, sexual assault or incest are not liable to be sued, according to the bill. 

The comments were picked up on Twitter, with some users posting that his comments are “an insulting lie.” 

The new bill has been criticized for banning nearly all abortions in the state. After the Supreme Court failed to halt the abortion bill last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissent, saying that the law, which is the strictest in the country, bans abortions “months before fetal viability.” 

“The Act is a breathtaking act of defiance — of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas,” she said. “The Court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law.”