- Fox News host Chris Wallace grilled Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on his state’s new abortion law and his vow to “eliminate rape.”
- “There were more than 15,000 rapes in 2019 when you were governor,” Wallace told Abbott.
- “The goal is to protect the lives of every child with a heartbeat,” Abbott said.
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Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday confronted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his state’s restrictive law that prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest.
After the ban took effect on September 1, the Republican governor faced immense criticism over its extreme measures and sought to defend the law by vowing to work to “eliminate rape” and “eliminate all rapists” from the state.
Wallace pointed to Texas’ latest data on rape, citing that 15,000 cases were reported in 2019. “Almost everyone says that that’s a severe undercount,” he told Abbott during an interview on his show “Fox News Sunday.”
“Is it reasonable to say to somebody who is the victim of rape, and might not understand that they are pregnant until six weeks, ‘Well don’t worry about it because we’re going to eliminate rape as a problem in the state of Texas?'” Wallace asked Abbott.
The Texas governor skirted around the question, saying that “survivors of sexual assault deserve support, care and compassion” and that the state plans to create a “sexual assault survivors task force.”
“I got to point out about the ways that I have fought to arrest and apprehend and try to eliminate rape,” Abbott added, before Wallace interjected.
“Governor, excuse me, because we are running out of time,” Wallace said. “There were more than 15,000 rapes in 2019 when you were governor,” he reiterated.
Wallace then pressed Abbott on whether he will amend the abortion law to include an exception for rape victims.
“The goal is to protect the lives of every child with a heartbeat,” Abbott responded.
“Including the child of a rape?” Wallace asked.
Abbott dismissed the question, claiming that the Republican-led state legislature would not push through a bill to revise the law.
-The Recount (@therecount) September 27, 2021
Beyond the lack of exception for cases of rape or incest, the Texas abortion law is considered the most restrictive in the country as it bans the procedure at a time before many people know they are pregnant.
The law has so far withstood legal challenges because of its unique enforcement mechanism. Rather than having state officials enforce the ban, the law invites ordinary citizens to do so. That means an individual can sue an abortion provider or anyone they believe who “aids and abets” someone getting the procedure beyond six weeks of pregnancy. Successful plaintiffs will be rewarded at least $US10,000 ($AU13,771), in addition to legal fees.
The Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote on September 2 declined a request from abortion providers in Texas to block the law. The court’s narrow majority argued that the decision was technical and the justices did not review the substance of the statute, which could still be legally challenged.
The nation’s high court will consider a major abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, starting December 1. The case concerns a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, presenting a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that guaranteed the right to an abortion until pre-viability, the point when a fetus can survive outside of the womb, which medical experts determine typically occurs around 24 weeks of pregnancy.