- VP Kamala Harris blasted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for saying he would “eliminate all rapists.”
- Texas’ strict new first-term abortion ban has no exceptions for rape or incest.
- Harris said his comments “were fueled with not only arrogance but bravado.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Vice President Kamala Harris excoriated Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas for saying that he will “eliminate all rapists” in response to a question about how rape victims will fare under the state’s strict new abortion law.
“To arrogantly dismiss concerns about rape survivors and to speak the words that were empty words, that were false words, that were fueled with not only arrogance but bravado, that is not who we want in our leaders,” Harris said at a campaign event for Gov. Gavin Newsom in San Leandro, California on Wednesday. “We want, in our leaders, someone like Gavin Newsom who always speaks the truth.”
At a Tuesday event, Abbott fielded a question about rape victims being forced to carry pregnancies caused by their rapists to term under Texas’ strict new abortion ban, which prohibits the procedure in the first term and has no exceptions for rape or incest.
Abbott falsely said that the law still provides rape victims “at least six weeks” to get an abortion, which is an inaccurate representation of how gestational development works. The law defines pregnancy as beginning after a person’s last menstrual period, not the date of conception, meaning many people don’t even know they’re pregnant at all before six weeks.
He then said that he and other Texas leaders will solve the problem of rape altogether by “eliminating all rapists.”
“Let’s make something very clear: Rape is a crime,” Abbott said while signing a GOP election reform bill into law. “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.”
The law, Senate Bill 8, bans abortion after the point at which a “heartbeat” can be detected, which usually occurs at around six weeks of pregnancy. Many medical professionals, however, told NPR that the activity that can be detected at the stage is not an actual heartbeat but really electrical activity.
The law’s unusual design outsources the enforcement of the ban to private citizens, enabling them to sue abortion providers and those who “aid and abet” in abortion procedures in court and receive up to $10,000 in damages.
The US Supreme Court allowed the law to stay in place in a September 1 decision, leaving providers in the state unable to perform abortion procedures while challenges to the law proceed in the lower courts.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also shot back at Abbott’s comments on Wednesday, saying that while there would be bipartisan support for the idea, “there has never in history of the country and the world been any leader who’s ever been able to eliminate rape, eliminate rapists from our streets.”
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