- Gov. Greg Abbott said women had six weeks after being raped to get abortions under Texas’ new law.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said he lacked knowledge of basic biology.
- She said six weeks meant two weeks late on a period — assuming the person’s period wasn’t late.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York criticized Gov. Greg Abbott’s response to a question Tuesday about abortions for people in his state of Texas who had been raped.
During a Tuesday press conference, Abbott said Texas’ new law banning abortions after roughly six weeks would not force rape victims to carry their assailants’ children to term because he would work to “eliminate all rapists” from the state.
Asked by a reporter “Why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?” the governor responded by saying people who had been raped had “at least six weeks” to get an abortion.
In response, Ocasio-Cortez told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Abbott lacked basic knowledge about biology.
“I don’t know if he is familiar with a menstruating person’s body,” she said. “In fact, I do know that he’s not familiar with a female or menstruating person’s body because if he did, he would know that you don’t have six weeks.”
—Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 8, 2021
Ocasio-Cortez added that she apologized for having to break down “biology 101 on national television, but in case no one has informed him before in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period.”
She continued: “Two weeks late for your period for any person, any person with a menstrual cycle, can happen if you’re stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all. So, you don’t have six weeks.”
Planned Parenthood has said 85% to 90% of Texans who obtain abortions are at least six weeks into pregnancy.
In his response to the question about forcing those who had been raped to carry their assailant’s baby to term, Abbott also said he would “eliminate all rapists” in Texas.
“Let’s make something very clear: Rape is a crime,” Abbott said while signing a major GOP elections bill. “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.”
He added: “So goal number one in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of it.”
Ocasio-Cortez said the governor’s statement did not acknowledge that most people who are raped or sexually assaulted know or are acquainted with their assailants.
The National Institute of Justice estimated in 2008 that in up to 90% of sexual assaults reported by college women, the women knew the perpetrator.
“These aren’t just predators that are walking around the streets at night,” Ocasio-Cortez told Cooper. “They are people’s uncles. They are teachers, They are family friends and when something like that happens it takes a very long time first of all for any victim to come forward.”
She went on to describe what she called “anti-choice” bills like the one in Texas as products of a misogynistic culture.
“It’s awful, and he speaks from such a place of deep ignorance,” she said of Abbott. “It’s not just ignorance. It’s ignorance that’s hurting people all across the country.”