The new law has sparked fears of similar legislation being implemented in other states.
The Governor of Texas has defended the state’s new abortion ban and its lack of exception for cases of rape and incest by saying he will “eliminate all rapists from the streets.”
The new law, which was passed in May and came into effect on September 1, has banned abortion where there is a detectable heartbeat (usually at around 6 weeks, when many may not even know they’re pregnant).
Under the strict legislation, any private citizen can bring a civil suit against abortion providers or against anyone who they see as helping to facilitate an abortion, such as someone who drives the pregnant person to a clinic.
Those found to have violated the law would have to pay $10,000 to the person who successfully files such a suit against them.
There are no exceptions, even in cases of rape or incest.
The law has sparked outrage across the US with protestors fearing it will pave the way for similar so-called “heartbeat laws” in other states.
The idea of having to forcibly give birth is a frightening idea for many, regardless of their circumstances. But pro-choice advocates are particularly concerned for children and sexual assault survivors who have gotten pregnant through rape.
Now, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said the law won’t force victims of rape or incest to carry to term because it “provides at least 6 weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion,” and because his government will ensure rape doesn’t happen at all.
“Rape is a crime and Texas will work tirelessly [to ensure] that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets,” he said, per CBS.
In 2019, there were more than 14,650 cases of rape reported in the state, but less than 3,900 arrests were made for rape and other sex offences, Texas Department of Public Safety reports show.
If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact the HSE’s My Options on 1800 828 010, Women’s Aid’s 24 hour helpline on 1800 341 900, or the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 77 8888.