Texas Republican Thinks Rape Kits Are the Same as Abortion
A Texas Republican compared using evidence-collcting rape kits to getting an abortion during a debate on a bill that would seriously restrict reproductive rights.
Salon’s Katie McDonough notes that State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, a Republican, said that abortions are unnecessary because “in the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.” The comment was in response to an amendment that called for an exemption to a sweeping ban on abortion after 20 weeks in cases of incest or rape.
Laubenberg’s remark exposes the far-right nature of Texas politics, particularly when it comes to abortion rights. Last week, Texas Congressman Michael Burgess opined that abortion should be restricted because fetuses could feel “pleasure” when they put their hands “between their legs" to masterbate.
The statement from Laubenberg came in the midst of a debate on a bill that would force most abortion clinics in the state to shut down. As McDonough writes, the legislation “aims to ban abortion after 20 weeks, force clinic doctors to hold admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and restrict abortions to surgical centers.” The legislation would leave Texas with only five abortion clinics.
The bill passed the Texas legislature early Monday morning, despite the presence of more than 600 protesters. The legislation was forced to a vote after Republicans used their majority to cut the debate short, which the Associated Press characterized as "a highly unusual and partisan move." The GOP was hurrying to get the bill pased before midnight Tuesday, when the legislative session ends. The Senate still has to consider the bill, but can only do so 24 hours after the legislation gets final House approval.
Senate Democrats in Texas say they will try to fillibuster to prevent a vote.
"Everything about the process related to these abortion regulation bills has smelled like partisan politics," said State Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Houston Democrat. "Proponents of the bill have failed to demonstrate any evidence that the regulations imposed by these bills are necessary. Nor have they expressed any sign of responsible governance in ensuring that women will continue to be able to access safe and legal abortion care."