Politics

Jen Psaki rips into Texas governor for claiming he’ll stop all rapes so victims don’t need abortions

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pauses for a moment as she addresses reporters on Thursday, April 15, 2021, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)
White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiPhoto: White House

There’s an old saying that you’re better off keeping your mouth shut and being thought a fool than opening it and proving you are. Asked to defend the state’s draconian new abortion law, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R) forgot that adage when he claimed that he would put an end to all rapes in the state so victims didn’t need abortions.

Asked about his comments, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave him a sharp reminder of how foolish his comments were.

Related: Jen Psaki shuts down reporter demanding China pay “reparations” for COVID-19

Texas’s S.B. 8 offers a $10,000 bounty to anyone who sues someone that helped in the procurement of an abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, which can include everyone from health care workers to taxi drivers. The vast majority of abortions occur after the sixth week of pregnancy, in part because many people don’t know that they’re pregnant that early.

The conservative Supreme Court let the law go into effect this month as it gets challenged in court for violating Roe v. Wade.

“Why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?” a reporter asked Abbott.

Abbott insisted that S.B. 8 “doesn’t require that at all. Obviously, it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.”

“Let’s make something very clear,” Abbott said, “rape is a crime. And Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets.”

Psaki called him out for claiming that he could stop rape altogether in the state of Texas through prosecution.

“If Governor Abbott has a means of eliminating all rapists or all rape from the United States then there would be bipartisan support for that,” Psaki shot back to a reporter who asked about Abbott’s ridiculous boast.

“But given that there never in the history of the country, in the world, been any leader who has ever been able to eliminate rape, eliminate rapists from our streets, it is even more imperative, it’s one of the many reasons I should say, not the only reason, why women in Texas should have access to healthcare. So it does not change our objective. It does not change our commitment.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called out Abbott’s promise to arrest all rapists as well.

“If Gov. Abbott is as ‘anti-rape’ as he claims, why doesn’t he just lead the Texas state leg[islature] to pass a law for $10k bounties on people who engage in or aid sexual assault?” she asked.

“Or is he opposed to that bc it’s a slippery slope of vigilantism where men could be unjustly targeted?”

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