It is widely recognized that the new Texas anti-abortion law is ludicrous, meanspirited, and unconstitutional. It is especially interesting that the law makes no exceptions for rape or incest. There is actually a kind of backhand good news here. If you are raped, whether by a stranger, acquaintance, or family member, you should have the good sense to realize that you do not want to be pregnant but you might be. Even with the time limit of the Texas law, there is likely time for a pregnancy test and, if necessary, an abortion. If you have sex in other circumstances, however, you may not even consider that you could be pregnant. Not all sex results in pregnancy, but not all birth control is 100% effective 100% of the time. When you realize you are pregnant, Texas law may deem an abortion illegal.
My advice is that, if you are raped, you should get a reliable pregnancy test as soon as you can.
GOP Texas governor Greg Abbott has offered a reason why, in his opinion, no rape exception in the law is necessary. “Rape is a crime,” he explained, “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.”
Bess Levin has pointed out that Abbott’s intention may be hard to realize. As recently as 2019, 14,824 rapes were reported in Texas. (There were surely many, perhaps very many, unreported rapes.) Texas does not have a group of the “precogs” of Minority Report to arrest people who are about to commit rape; it can only arrest people who have already raped. Eliminating rape through law enforcement is a logical impossibility. And, as Levin asked, “[i]f he had that power [to eliminate rape], why didn’t he do it prior to enacting this law?”
The rape that Governor Abbott should eliminate is the rape of the civil rights of Texas residents. Eliminating sexual rape is beyond his power and, likely, beyond his sincere concern.
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