Abbott claimed restoring exceptions for rape and incest is "a hypothetical that's not going to happen because that bill is not going to reach my desk."
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace put Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a tough spot on Sunday when he confronted the Republican over his state's restrictive anti-abortion law which bans abortions after six weeks, even in the case of rape or incest. Pointing to Texas' 2019 data on rape, Wallace also grilled the governor about his defending the radical legislation's lack of exceptions for victims of rape and incest by pledging to "eliminate all rapists" in the state. "Is it reasonable to say to somebody who was the victim of rape and might not understand that they are pregnant, you know, until six weeks, 'Well, don't worry about it because we are going to eliminate rape as a problem in the state of Texas?'" he asked.
For all the stupid/vile things said by prominent politicians this month, I still don't think anything tops Greg Abbott's claim that his abortion ban is OK because he will "eliminate rapists". 1/ https://t.co/nhSZVKWe6M— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) September 26, 2021
Wallace then pointed to Texas' 2019 data on rape — citing that 15,000 cases were reported that year — while adding that "almost everyone says that that's a severe undercount." However, Abbott avoided giving a proper answer to the host's queries and instead beat around the bush. "Well, there's multiple things I have to say in answer to this, but the first thing obviously is that survivors of sexual assault, they deserve support, care, and compassion. And Texas is stepping up to make sure that we provide that by signing a law and creating in the governor's office a sexual assault survivors task force," he said.
Greg Abbott won’t support exception in abortion bill for victims of rape and incest https://t.co/yimsY0mgJm— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) September 26, 2021
"But separately from that, Chris, I got to point out about the ways that I have fought to go to arrest and apprehend and try to eliminate rape. I sought the death penalty for repeat rapists," Abbott added. Wallace cut off the governor at this point to once again remind him of the number of rapes reported across the state. "Governor, excuse me, because we are running out of time," Wallace said. "There were more than 15,000 rapes in 2019 when you were governor."
The news anchor then pressed Abbott on whether he would support a bill to restore exceptions for rape and incest. "Well, we've got to go back, Chris, to what the reason was why the law was passed in the first place," the governor replied, "and the goal is to protect the lives of every child with a heartbeat." When Wallace asked whether this included "the child of a rape," Abbott dismissed the question, asserting that a bill restoring exceptions for rape and incest is "a hypothetical that's not going to happen because that bill is not going to reach my desk."
CHRIS WALLACE: Is it reasonable to say to a rape victim who might not know they're pregnant until 6 weeks, 'don't worry about it, because we're going to eliminate rape'?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 26, 2021
GREG ABBOTT: The goal is to protect the lives of every child with a heartbeat pic.twitter.com/o7rJ5G6JZF
Abbott has staunchly stuck by the 'heartbeat' bill's lack of exceptions for rape and incest despite the widespread outcry over the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation. In a press conference days after the law went into effect, the governor claimed the law does not force rape survivors to have their assaulter's child as it gives them up to six weeks to get an abortion. "Let's make something very 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."
In the wake Texas’ new abortion law, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to ‘eliminate rape’ — but he has failed to address the backlog of untested rape kits in the state pic.twitter.com/p27y3ipN0z— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 21, 2021
"So goal No. 1 in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of it," he added. Following his latest interview with Wallace, Abbott faced more criticism online. "Yet, they just passed permit-less carry in Texas and aren't requiring masks in schools. Tell me again how this is 'protecting every child with a heartbeat?'" tweeted @jenmulvaney.