Abbott: Texas rape victims can avoid pregnancy by taking Plan B

Southwest

(The Hill/NEXSTAR) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said rape victims in the state can prevent pregnancies by using emergency contraception pills such as Plan B, The Dallas Morning News reported Friday.

In Texas, abortions are banned. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

Late last month, a so-called “trigger law” went into effect following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year. The trigger law makes it a felony to perform an abortion in the state, with narrow exceptions when the pregnant person’s life is at risk.

“We want to support those victims, but also those victims can access health care immediately, as well as to report it,” Abbott told The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV’s “Lone Star Politics” in a segment obtained by the Morning News that will air on Sunday. 

“By accessing health care immediately, they can get the Plan B pill that can prevent a pregnancy from occurring in the first place,” he added. 

Plan B is an oral contraceptive that is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or a “contraceptive accident” to prevent pregnancy, according to the product’s website. The pill prevents an egg from being released from the ovary to prohibit fertilization.

The Republican governor also told “Lone Star Politics” that reporting a rape to law enforcement “will ensure that the rapist will be arrested and prosecuted.”

However, very few rape cases result in an arrest. While there were 13,327 reported rapes in Texas in 2020, there were only 1,828 arrests for rape, according to the state’s department of public safety.

Abbott’s Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke responded to the governor’s statement on Twitter on Friday night, saying “We are going to end Greg Abbott’s career on November 8 and the women of Texas are going to lead the way.”

The Texas governor made national headlines just shy of a year ago for comments made after the implementation of State Bill 8, which was at that time the most restrictive abortion bill in the U.S. Under SB 8 — now superseded by the trigger law — abortions were banned after about six weeks, which is earlier than many people even realize they are pregnant.

During a press conference on the bill, Abbott was asked whether or not the bill was cruel to victims of rape. Abbott responded that the bill still gave victims six weeks to get an abortion, so it does not force victims to have their assaulter’s child.

Instead, Abbott posed a different solution to the issue of rape, saying, “Let’s be clear: rape is a crime. 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 comments were widely panned by detractors and advocates for victims of sexual violence.

Abbott, who has served as Texas governor since 2015, will face O’Rourke in November’s election. The former state representative has been a fierce critic of Abbott’s policies, particularly his handling of the state’s electrical management and gun regulations in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde.

In recent months, Abbott has focused much of his attention on migrants at the Texas-Mexico border, which has included headline-grabbing bussing of migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

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