I Have Some Questions for Greg Abbott

Do women count as people to you?

Eric Gay/AP

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Dear Gov. Greg Abbott,

Was it already a year ago that you declared Texas’ “Goal Number One” was to “eliminate rape,” after a reporter asked how you could justify signing a 6-week abortion ban without rape exceptions? How’s that going for you?

Or, more specifically, how’s it going for the Texans who report an estimated 13,500 rapes to their local authorities annually, according to the FBI’s most recent crime stats? Did you know that’s a vast undercount, since 90 percent of Texas survivors never report to law enforcement, much less identify their experiences as sexual assault, given the social stigma and victim-blaming around it? 

Did you have those numbers in mind this week, when you said during a taping of Lone Star Politics that your state’s abortion laws didn’t need a rape exception, because survivors “can get the plan B pill that can prevent pregnancy from occurring in the first place”? Do you know how much you sound like Todd Akin? Do you realize that emergency contraception must be taken within 5 days, costs up to $50, and is believed to work less effectively for those with a higher body mass index

While we’re on that topic, how do you feel about the right to contraception, which 195 of your Republican colleagues in Congress voted against codifying on July 21? Did you know that the anti-abortion movement is explicitly targeting birth control next, by expanding the definition of abortion to include contraception? Is that where you plan to draw the line, after years of helping anti-abortion activists push through their agenda in Texas?

How can you say so confidently that victims don’t need abortions, because they can “access health care immediately, as well as…report it”? What about the survivors in the 80 percent of Texas counties where no hospitals employed a sexual assault nurse examiner as of 2020? Or the survivors in your capitol city, Austin, which paid out $825,000 earlier this year after the police department and district attorney’s office mishandled the rape cases of 15 women?

And what about the survivors who never make a report because they fear police bias or retaliation from their attacker? Did you know that in some places, sexual assault victims have been sued or prosecuted for reporting?

Let’s really get down to it: When you talk about rapists, are you only thinking about strangers in dark alleys? What did you mean last year, when you said you would “eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets”? Do the 80 percent of survivors who have a relationship with their assailant count, in your mind, as people worthy of protection?

More simply, do women count as people to you? Really? So why are you suing the federal government for making sure pregnant people in emergency rooms get the lifesaving treatment they need, even if it means ending their pregnancy?

Sincerely, 

Madison Pauly

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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