By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday slammed Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s “deep ignorance” on abortion after he defended the state’s new six-week abortion ban earlier in the day.
“He speaks from such a place of deep ignorance … and it’s not just ignorance, it’s ignorance that’s hurting people across this country,” the New York Democrat told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”
Her comments came in response to Abbott’s pointed defense of the controversial Texas law that bars abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, which is one of the strictest in the nation and prohibits abortion before many people know they are pregnant. Under the Texas law, abortion is prohibited when a fetal heartbeat is detected, and there is no exception for rape or incest — although there is an exemption for “medical emergencies.”
Asked about the law’s lack of exception for rape or incest earlier Tuesday, Abbott defended the six-week period wherein abortions are still permitted and vowed to work to “eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.”
Ocasio-Cortez called the governor’s comments a “disgusting” defense of a law centered on “controlling people who are not cisgender men.”
“I’m sorry we have 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. And two weeks late on 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,” she said.
Addressing the governor’s goal to “eliminate rape,” the New York congresswoman argued that “these aren’t just predators that are walking around the streets at night.”
“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. And second of all, when a victim comes forward, they don’t necessarily want to bring their case into the carceral system. They don’t want to re-traumatize themselves by going to court. They don’t necessarily all want to report a family friend to a police precinct, let alone in the immediate aftermath of the trauma of a sexual assault,” she told Cooper.
Since the law went into effect, supporters of abortion rights in Texas have proceeded with a three-pronged approach, starting with an attempt to get women the medical attention they need or the financial resources to travel across state lines.
In addition, clinics are turning to state courts to block as many civil lawsuits as possible that they hope could ultimately land at the Texas Supreme Court. Finally, they’ve asked the Biden administration to think broadly about ways to use the muscle of the federal government to protect a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
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CNN’s Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.