Fox’s Chris Wallace confronts Texas governor over claim that he will ‘eliminate’ rape

·2 min read
Texas’s governor Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference  (AP)
Texas’s governor Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference (AP)

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace sparred with Texas’ Republican governor over his state’s new ban on abortion after six weeks into the pregnancy, even in the case of rape or incest.

Speaking with Greg Abbott via satellite on Sunday, Mr Wallace questioned whether it was “reasonable” to only allow a rape victim six weeks from the point of first becoming pregnant to decide to obtain an abortion and go through with scheduling and receiving the procedure, which for many women can mean a long journey to one of the state’s few clinics.

“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?’” Mr Wallace asked, pointing out that there were nearly 15,000 reported cases of rape across Texas in 2019, while adding that the figure was likely a major undercount of the true number.

“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,” Mr Abbott responded. “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.”

Mr Wallace cut off the governor and again pointed out the number of rapes across the state. He then pivoted to asking whether Mr Abbott would support a bill being drafted by a GOP lawmaker in the state to add an exception to the state’s six-week abortion ban for rape and incest, a bill which the governor predicted would not pass the legislature.

Of the bill reaching his desk, Mr Abbott said it’s “not gonna happen”, while defending the six-week period as sufficient for rape victims and incest victims to seek an abortion, despite many women not learning they are pregnant until after that period ends.

Texas’ new law has become a focal point of the conservative-led battle to roll back abortion rights, which saw a major victory at the Supreme Court last month when the Court declined to halt the law from taking effect. The Court is set to consider a case seeking the total reversal of Roe v Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case establishing abortion as a right, later this year.

Progressives have urged President Joe Biden to respond to the situation by endorsing changes to the Supreme Court including adding more justices to counterbalance the Court’s conservative majority, a plan Mr Biden has as of yet refused to support.

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