Texas Governor Greg Abbott came up with a lukewarm solution this week when he was challenged about his state’s abortion ban that makes no exception for rape or incest: take Plan B.
The Republican governor’s horribly thoughtful solution to victims of sexual assault was offered during a radio clip aired Sunday on the local radio program Lone Star Politics, The Dallas Morning News reported first.
“We want to support those victims, but those victims also have immediate access to health care and can report it,” Abbott said, perhaps not realizing that this solution ignores the fact that nearly 80 percent of rapes and assaults go unreported in 2016. according to the Ministry of Justice.
“By getting immediate access to health care, they can get the Plan B pill that can prevent a pregnancy. With regard to reporting to law enforcement, that will ensure that the rapist will be arrested and prosecuted,” the GOP said. governor out.
Before the Supreme Court’s decision to roll back Roe v Wade fell in June, the Lone Star state still had some of the country’s most restrictive rules when it came to conducting proceedings.
In the fall of last year, Texas passed a bill banning the procedure after six weeks in most cases — when heart activity can first be detected by clinicians in the embryo — causing the ban to be popularly referred to as a heartbeat law.
Abbott, who will face a gubernatorial challenge this fall by progressive Beto O’Rourke, has been called out by his Democratic opponent for having ineffective policies when it comes to tackling crime and state reproductive rights.
“Greg Abbott has signed the most extreme abortion ban in the nation, with no exception for rape or incest,” campaign spokesman Chris Evans said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. “The number of rape arrests has fallen by nearly half since he took office as he has more than 3,000 untested rape kits collecting dust in his state crime labs.”
Mr O’Rourke’s campaign spokesman’s accusation about the state’s backlog of rape kits was found true based on a recent investigation conducted by The Dallas Observer. In the local paper’s findings, they found that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is currently testing 3,510 kits in the state.
That list, the outlet pointed out, does not include the two separate Dallas County backlogs, which are not part of the DPS. In one of those backlogs, with kits dating back to 1996, there are 1,000 kits dormant, and in the second, which runs from 2011 to 2019, there are about 900 kits.
Even beyond the governor’s suggestion that the key to stopping unwanted pregnancies from rape would be reporting sexual assault, health experts oppose his solution that Plan B could be the only solution to stopping unwanted pregnancies at the source.
Emergency contraception, especially in a state where Medicaid doesn’t cover it for low-income people, isn’t widely available.
In addition, Plan B is not entirely effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies and is thought to be even less so if you are an overweight person. According to a 2016 study, people with a BMI of 30 or higher had significantly lower levels of levonorgestrel EC in their blood than those with a lower BMI.
Beyond efficacy, the accessibility of emergency contraception is a major barrier that the governor failed to address when he made his comments about the radio program.
Public health experts warned in the same Dallas Morning News article that doctors and medical providers might be wary of even broaching the subject of Plan B with patients for fear it could violate the state’s new law, which contains broad language suggesting lawsuits could be filed against persons who assist, incite or perform abortions.
The Texas governor admitted on one point in the abortion ban debate. That is, he wanted to clarify the language around the state’s new laws so that it became clear that when a person’s life is in danger during a pregnancy – such as during an ectopic pregnancy – there may be exceptions.
“We need to provide greater clarity about what we are doing to protect the mother’s life,” Abbott said. “There seems to be a lack of clarity about protecting the mother’s life. That is of the utmost importance, whether it is a so-called ectopic pregnancy, or it could be other problems that mothers have. Doctors need to be aware of all the different things they can do to save the mother’s life.”
Mr. Abbott and Mr. O’Rourke will face each other during the November midterms for the Texas governorship.