Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defended protections in the new heartbeat law for babies conceived in rape, saying Tuesday that the state is dedicated to stopping rape and supporting its victims.
The pro-life law, which went into effect last week, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. It allows exceptions when the mother’s life is at risk but not in cases of rape – a point that abortion activists have been emphasizing.
At a press conference, Abbott responded to criticisms about the law protecting unborn babies conceived in rape, saying his goal is to “eliminate rape so that no woman, no person will be a victim of rape,” KXAN News reports.
The pro-life Republican governor said the law does not force rape victims to give birth; women have up to about six weeks of pregnancy to get an abortion.
Abbott emphasized that the real problem is not the baby but the rapist, and he promised that ending sexual abuse is one of his top priorities.
“Let’s be clear: Rape is a crime,” Abbott said. “And Texas will work tirelessly to make sure 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 Texas also provides support to sexual assault victims through public and private organizations and will continue to do so.
The new Texas heartbeat law has the potential to save tens of thousands of babies from abortion every year. In 2020, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, and about 85 percent happened after six weeks of pregnancy, according to state health statistics.
Research indicates that a very small percentage of all abortions involve victims of rape. Many women choose life for their babies in these horrific circumstances, realizing that their unborn baby is a second innocent victim.
Zoey Pardo (pictured), for example, said her son’s life is a beautiful gift, despite the traumatic abuse that she suffered when he was conceived.
“I do not see my son as a negative product, but as a blessing. He SAVED my life. He taught me love, patience, kindness,” she shared on the blog Love What Matters.. “… He’s not my assault, he’s not my enemy, he’s my beloved.”
Lauran Bunting is another example. Raped in high school, she rejected others’ suggestions that she have an abortion and chose life for her daughter.
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“I think any time you put another person’s life before your own, you feel empowered,” she said. “Though motherhood is a scary journey at times, the Lord has given me the strength to get through the hardest of times and continues to be with me through the good times. No one can explain just how much joy you will feel when you see your child walking in the way of the Lord.”
Another mother who chose life, Analyn Megison, of Florida, previously told the Christian Science Monitor that she was criticized for not having an abortion.
“People ridicule you and distrust you because you chose to have your child – ‘Oh, you must not have been raped,’ ” Megison said. “It’s such a strange world we live in where you have to be questioned as a mother why you love the child that … you nurse and play with and pray with and read stories with.”
Abortion often is pushed as a solution for victims of sexual assault. Society assumes that women who become pregnant by rape want to abort their unborn babies, but in many cases, this is not true. Some women have said their abortion only added to their trauma, and others said the abortion felt like being raped again.
Research by the Elliot Institute found that between 75 percent and 85 percent of pregnant rape victims do not have abortions. Of those who did, many felt pressured or coerced to abort their unborn babies.
“… many of the women in our survey who had abortions reported that abortion only added to and accentuated the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault,” wrote Amy Sobie, editor of “Post-Abortion Review,” previously.
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