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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says rape victims

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says rape victims can take Plan B, report says Sept. 3 (UPI) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said that rape victims can take emergency contraception, such as Plan B, after the state passed a ban on all abortions except in the case of a medical emergency, with no exceptions for rape and incest victims

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says rape victims

Abbott’s comments were made during a segment on Lone Star Politics, a show that is jointly produced by The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV, which will air at 8:30 a.m. CDT on Sunday.

“We want to support those victims, but also those victims can access health care immediately, as well as to report it,” Abbott said.

“By accessing health care immediately, they can get the Plan B pill that can prevent a pregnancy from occurring in the first place. With regard to reporting it to law enforcement, that will ensure that the rapist will be arrested and prosecuted.”

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Plan B is a brand name of the drug levonorgestrel, which is also known as the morning-after pill. It is around 89% effective at preventing pregnancy if taken correctly within 72 hours of having unprotected sex.

“We want to make adoptions easier and cheaper,” Abbott also said in the interview.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says rape victims

Texas passed a so-called trigger law in 2021 in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s jaw-dropping decision earlier this year to overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling constitutionally protecting the right to seek an abortion.

There were around 13,509 rape offenses in Texas in 2020 — more than any other state — with a rate of around 46 rape offenses per 100,000 people, according to FBI data.

Texas is also suffering from a rape kit testing backlog that prevents victims from getting swift justice.

Young girls and women who are raped often don’t have immediate access to emergency contraceptives and Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurring opinion with the Supreme Court ruling that the high court should consider looking at the legality of contraceptives.

Gov. Greg Abbott said rape victims can take Plan B. But emergency contraception isn’t widely available for the state’s poorest people.

Abbott said that victims of rape could take Plan B to prevent a pregnancy. Due to the state’s healthcare landscape, accessing emergency contraception may not be feasible for low-income Texans.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says rape victims

On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott told The Dallas Morning News that rape victims can take emergency contraception, like Plan B, to prevent a pregnancy. With abortion now banned in Texas, even in instances of incest or rape, the governor recommended the use of emergency contraception to ensure a victim of rape does not become pregnant.

But for the lowest-income people in Texas, emergency contraception isn’t widely accessible, advocates said — a consequence of the significant number of people of childbearing age who are uninsured and the state’s lack of programs that provide access to treatment like Plan B.

During a pre-recorded segment of Lone Star Politics, Abbott said of rape victims, “By accessing health care immediately, they can get the Plan B pill that can prevent a pregnancy from occurring in the first place. With regard to reporting it to law enforcement, that will ensure that the rapist will be arrested and prosecuted.”

Emergency contraception primarily works by stopping fertilization. The treatment can prevent someone from becoming pregnant if taken up to five days after sex, with varying effectiveness.

In instances of rape, Abbott said, “We want to support those victims, but also those victims can access health care immediately, as well as to report it.”

After signing Senate Bill 8 into law last September, which banned abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and didn’t provide exceptions for rape or incest, Abbott said the state’s goal was to eliminate rape. Abbott’s office did not return a request for comment on Saturday.

In 2020, Texas ranked 16th in the nation for total number of forcible rape cases per capita.

Emilee Whitehurst, the CEO of Houston Area Women’s Center, said a significant number of rapes aren’t reported, and the actual number of victims is higher than those that seek treatment at a hospital.

Whitehurst added that emergency contraception is not a substitute for abortion access in any way, but those responsible for the abortion ban in Texas have left victims of sexual assault with few options. She said it was insulting to hear that Plan B should be relied on to prevent pregnancies given the dangers victims of sexual assault already face.

Whitehurst said that guaranteed access to emergency contraception is “fairytale thinking.” She said young victims of sexual assault, in particular, will struggle to access that form of contraception.

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