Greg Abbott, the self-proclaimed “pro-life” governor of Texas whose anti-mask policies are definitely killing people, signed a bill into law last week that bans abortions before most people even realize they’re pregnant, even in cases of rape and incest. But pregnant people needn’t worry about the state potentially forcing them to carry their rapist’s baby to term, the governor said Tuesday because he has a simple plan to round up rapists off the streets.
“Let’s make something very clear: Rape is a crime,” Abbott declared at a press conference. “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.”
He added: “So goal No. 1 in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of it.”
Of course, most rapists aren’t on “the streets” grabbing random women while they’re jogging. The vast majority of perpetrators are someone the victim knows. And Texas had more than 14,000 reported rapes in 2019—probably a few too many for Abbott to catch with his lasso. If that plan doesn’t work, the governor said, women needn’t worry because they have “at least six weeks” after being raped to have an abortion.
It’s surprising that Republicans continue to offer damning soundbites on rape and abortion when they’re clearly clueless. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, you may recall, notoriously lost an election he should have won in 2012 after saying that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” referring to pregnancy. That is obviously not true.
Months later, another GOP Senate hopeful, Richard Mourdock, said pregnancies from rape are something “God intended to happen.” He also lost his election.
Republican men tried to urge each other to stop talking about rape and abortion after that, because it was going so badly for them, but they simply can’t help themselves. And now Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has had to school the governor of Texas about how a pregnant person’s body works.
“I don’t know if he is familiar with a menstruating person’s body,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday. “In fact, I do know that he’s not familiar with a female or menstruating person’s body because if he did, he would know that you don’t have six weeks.”
“I’m sorry we have to break down Biology 101 on national television, but in case no one has informed him in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period,” she continued. “Two weeks late for your period for any person, 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 six weeks.”
This isn’t a good look for Abbott, who will almost certainly now have to reckon with this moment and these soundbites for the remainder of his political career. Perhaps he should reconsider his cruelty to women.