AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott weighed in on a burning question related to the state’s recently passed bill banning abortions after six weeks: what about victims of rape?
During a Tuesday press conference, Abbott said the law gives rape victims up to six weeks to get abortion and thus “does not do that [force victims to have their assaulter’s child].”
“Let’s be clear: rape is a crime,” Abbott said. “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 state of Texas has taken a national beating for the passage of Senate Bill 8, which went into effect Sept. 1. Under the law, abortions cannot be performed once a fetal heartbeat is detected — as soon as six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant.
SB 8 also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion. Some critics say this would essentially put a bounty on people’s heads and encourage frivolous lawsuits. Citizens can be sued for $10,000 or more if an abortion is performed outside of the six-week period.
SB 8 has been widely condemned nationally, with President Joe Biden calling it “unconstitutional chaos,” and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland promising the U.S. Department of Justice would protect those seeking abortions while it urgently works to protect access to abortion.
Despite the outcry, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the law to stand last week after a group of Texas abortion clinics and advocates requested the law be blocked. SCOTUS could still make a move soon.
On Tuesday, Gov. Abbott said the top goal is to “eliminate rape” but that Texas will also provide support for victims through state organizations.