Texas’ oppressive new abortion law outlaws the (medical) practice at six weeks and allows any private citizen to sue someone (akin to financial vigilantism) who helps a woman secure an abortion in any way (including giving a ride to a clinic). There’s no rape exception to the six-week rule, which is something that Gov. Greg Abbott seemed very proud about while signing the bill in room full of white dudes and declaring that he was going to solve the problem by jailing all rapists.
Abbott added that there was also plenty of time for a woman to secure a pregnancy before the six-week deadline, which is something that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who has revealed herself to be a sexual assault survivor) could not stomach. At the time, she declared that Abbott spoke from “such a place of deep ignorance,” and that he clearly didn’t understand how the female anatomy functions.
AOC makes a valid point. Six weeks pregnant generally means that a woman’s period is two weeks late, and two weeks late is something that happens for many reasons, including stress, illness, or… no reason at all. It’s not uncommon to not realize that you’re six weeks pregnant, and you can’t get an abortion until at least five weeks of pregnancy, if not longer due to scheduling and logistics. Six weeks ain’t enough time. And AOC spoke on Thursday during a House panel to address the subject:
“Six weeks pregnant is two weeks late for one’s period. When you are raped, you don’t always know what happened to you. And I speak about this as a survivor. You are in so much shock… I’m 115 pounds. You look at me funny, I’m two weeks late for my period. And you’re supposed to expect me to know I’m pregnant? Or the stress of a sexual assault? That makes you two weeks late for your period, whether you’re pregnant or not.”
She wasn’t done yet. On Twitter, AOC declared that the Texas GOP is fostering “[t]he same kind of abuse culture & misogynistic culture that allows for abusers to cause harm inside their homes.” She also tweeted a video of her House panel statement.
TW: rape & sexual assault
The same kind of abuse culture & misogynistic culture that allows for abusers to cause harm inside their homes is the same abuse that informs Texas’ anti-abortion law. It’s the same abuse we see that has persisted for centuries. And it’s time to end it. pic.twitter.com/RwQ6IEz4tX
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) September 30, 2021
To that end, she pointed out that a whole lot of rapes aren’t sexual assaults by a stranger. They can happen at home, or an otherwise “safe” location, when the perpetrator is a friend, a family member, a teacher, or the like. That can make it even more difficult for a woman to come forward and say that she was raped, let alone figure out whether she’s slightly late for her period or pregnant, while attempting to unpack all that happened.