Great news. If you thought that SB8 — the Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks and allows private citizens to sue anyone who “aids” or “abets” them for $10,000 — meant that some women would have to carry rapists’ babies to term, think again. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that he planned to “eliminate all rapists.”
Asked by a reporter why the the new law did not include an exception for rape or incest, Gov. Abbott said this:
It doesn’t require that at all because, obviously, it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion. So for one, it doesn’t provide that. That said, however, let’s make something very clear. Rape is a crime. And Texas will work tirelessly to eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets.
That rocks. Good luck with that, Gov. Abbott, the leader of a state where two in five women have been sexually assaulted (more than the national average, which is one in three). His state also had to reform its rape prosecution process in 2019, after an investigation in Propublica showed the Austin Police Department closed almost a third of all rape cases without solving them, using something called “exceptional clearance” to boost their case closure numbers without finding a responsible party.
Hopefully Abbott will have better luck with rapists than he did with sex toys, which he tried to ban in 2008, as the Attorney General in the Fifth Circuit, on the grounds that it would “discourag[e] prurient interests in autonomous sex and the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation.” He lost that one; the Lone Star State protects the sanctity of lone agents, unless they’re lone women looking for an abortion after six weeks. That’s illegal.
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