Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared on on CNN’s AC 360 Tuesday night and minced no words about Texas’s new law limiting abortion or comments made earlier in the day by the state’s governor, Greg Abbott, defending the stricture.
The controversial new abortion statute outlaws all such procedures six weeks after conception. It does not, however, provide exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
Asked on Tuesday about that lack of provision Abbott said, “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. So goal number one in Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person will be a victim of rape.”
Tuesday night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper had U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on and asked her what she thought about Abbott’s comments. Ocasio-Cortez responded, “Well, I find Governor Abbott’s comments disgusting.”
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She went on to apologize for going back to “Biology 101 on national television,” but said Abbott needed to understand that “six weeks late means two weeks late for your period (since it’s a somewhat monthly cycle), and two weeks late on your period…can really happen if you’re stressed, if your diet changes or for really no reason at all. So you don’t have six weeks. That’s first.”
Ocasio-Cortez then refuted Abbott’s plan for policing rapists.
“The second part of this,” said the Congresswoman from New York, “where he talks about going after rapists and this language that he uses about getting rapists off the streets — the majority of people who are raped and who are sexually assaulted are assaulted by someone that they know. These aren’t just predators that are walking around the streets at night. They are people’s uncles, they are teachers, they are family friends. And when something like that happens, it takes a very long time, first of all, for any victim to come forward.”
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), which bills itself as “the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization,” 80% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. Among juvenile sexual abuse cases reported to law enforcement, 93% of the victims knew the perpetrator.
Abbott’s ideas stem from “a place of deep ignorance,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
“This idea that we’re going to ‘end rape’ when this same type of, frankly, rape culture and this same type of misogynistic culture that informs this abortion law to begin with — those beliefs are held by the governor himself and the Texas State Legislature. Frankly, there are many people in power, as we know from the #MeToo movement, that commit sexual assault, that help their friends cover up these crimes. And some of them even serve in these same state legislatures that are voting on these anti-choice bills. It’s awful. And he speaks from such a place of deep ignorance. It’s not just ignorance. It’s ignorance that’s hurting people across this country.”
Asked to explain the “rape culture” connection, Ocasio-Cortez said that “the Republican party is not about being pro life.” If it were, she continued, the GOP would support guaranteed health care.
“What this is about,” she said, “is controlling women’s bodies…And people like Governor Abbott or Mitch McConnell want to have more control over a woman’s body than that person has over themselves. And what that shares with rape culture is that sexual assault is about the abuse of power and sexual assault is about asserting control over another person. And the ease with which these men seek to do that to other people is atrocious.”
Ocasio-Cortez continued to make her points Wednesday on Twitter.
“The gutting of Roe v Wade imperils every menstruating person in the US, every person who engages in sex, and every person who values our constitutional right to privacy.”
Beyond his comments Tuesday, Abbott has tweeted just once in the past 10 days about the law, even amid the controversy and Supreme Court vote.
On September 1, he wrote:
“No freedom is more precious than life itself.
Starting today, every unborn child with a heartbeat will be protected from the ravages of abortion.
“Texas will always defend the right to life.”
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