The state of Texas became the center for scrutiny in the past several weeks after a new provision on the state’s abortion law took effect. This controversial law states that private individuals in Texas can sue any woman attempting to procure an abortion after six weeks and any individual helping them, such as doctors or medical workers, for at least a $100,000 dollars.
This wasn’t the only controversial part of the law: it doesn’t say anything about unwanted pregnancies due to rape or sexual assault, nor does it directly guarantee persecution for the “father” who caused 100% of these pregnancies.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who personally endorsed these heartbeat bills, said that the law does not need to explicitly include cases of rape since, according to him, “women have at least six weeks to get an abortion.”
New York representative Alicia Ocasio-Cortez rebuffed his statements by stating that irregularities in the menstrual cycle, experienced by many women, would lead to pregnancies going undetected.
“I’m sorry that we have to break down biology 101 on national television, but in case no one has informed him before in his life, 6 weeks pregnant means 2 weeks late for your period. and 2 weeks late for your period for any person with a menstrual cycle, can happen if you’re stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all. So you don’t have 6 weeks.” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Ocasio-Cortez also mentions that victims of rape may experience severe trauma after their assault– victims may not come forward directly, and may refuse to file charges as they do not want to be “retraumatized” by taking this fight to court.
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“This idea that we’re going to ‘end rape,’ when the same type of, frankly, rape culture and the same type of misogynistic culture that informed this abortion law, to begin with…it’s awful,” she said.
Gov. Abbott, however, remains firm and assures 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.”
However, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s crime reports for the year 2019, there were 14,656 cases of rape in the state, making up nearly a quarter of all reported violent crimes, but only 2,210 were arrested.
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Ocasio-Cortez continues to criticize the legislation, saying “None of this is about supporting life. What this is about is controlling women’s bodies and controlling people who are not cisgender men.”
She says that these “abortion laws” are not “pro-life” as they say they are. “If they were about being pro-life, then the Republican party would support, frankly, an agenda that helps guarantee health care, that helps ensure that people who do give birth that doesn’t have the resources to care for a child, can have that care for a child.”