Texas Gov. Abbott’s vow to ‘eliminate all rapists’ rings hollow at clinics

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When Texas’ new abortion legislation manufactured no exceptions in situations of rape, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott defended it with an assurance: Texas would get to work eradicating rapes.

Just one calendar year later on, Lindsey LeBlanc is hectic as at any time encouraging rape victims in a college city outdoors Houston.

“The figures have stayed continually superior,” reported LeBlanc, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Middle in Bryan, around Texas A&M University. In spite of hiring two more counselors in the earlier six months, she continue to has a waitlist for victims.

“We are struggling to keep up with demand,” she reported.

The constant caseloads in Texas are a different case in point of how Republicans have struggled to defend zero-exception abortion bans that are unpopular in public polling, have brought about uproar in high-profile conditions and are inviting political possibility heading into November’s midterm elections. A yr considering the fact that Texas’ law went into effect in September 2021, at the very least a dozen states also have bans that make no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

The absence of exceptions has brought about divisions among Republicans, which include in West Virginia, the place a new regulation signed this thirty day period allows a short window for rape and incest victims to attain abortions only if they report to regulation enforcement to start with. A short while ago, South Carolina Republicans scuttled a proposed ban right after failing to get plenty of GOP assistance.

“It really disgusts me,” claimed Republican South Carolina condition Sen. Katrina Shealy, ripping into her male colleagues on the ground of the point out Senate.

Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, also of South Carolina, authorized exceptions less than the proposed countrywide abortion ban he introduced previous week. The proposal has just about no opportunity of passing, with even GOP leaders not quickly backing it, reflecting how Republicans have broadly struggled to navigate the challenge of abortion with voters considering that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summertime.

Mind-boggling majorities of voters imagine their condition need to commonly enable abortion in distinct circumstances, which includes rape, incest or if the health and fitness of the pregnant human being is endangered. Even Republicans are viewing it as a line with some voters.

“It can be a very gray challenge,” stated Claudia Alcazar, the GOP chairwoman in Starr County together the Texas-Mexico border that has grow to be a new political battleground right after Republicans made big gains with extra conservative Hispanic voters in 2020.

She explained she is familiar with all those who are “hardcore, in no way have abortion for any reason, period of time. And then I have the other ones that are like, ‘Well, you know, it is dependent.'”

In Texas, the blowback was swift when Abbott claimed very last September: “Texas will function tirelessly to make guaranteed that we eliminate all rapists from the streets.” Critics named it detached from actuality. A sexual assault hotline in Houston has answered virtually 4,800 calls by means of August this year — putting it on observe to exceed previous year’s quantity of 4,843.

As of this summer time, all abortions were being banned in Texas except if it would conserve a mother’s life.

Asked what Abbott has accomplished in the past year to remove rape, spokeswoman Renae Eze highlighted older actions to distinct rape check kit backlogs, a regulation signed in June aimed at coordinating and increasing sexual assault assets and a endeavor power his business office released in 2019 to handle the problem.

“To prevent such heinous crimes ahead of they transpire, and to prosecute any criminals to the comprehensive extent of the legislation, Governor Abbott has aggressively fought in opposition to defunding the police and led bail reform efforts to stop the launch of risky criminals,” Eze reported in a statement.

More than 14,000 rape crimes have been claimed in Texas considering the fact that the law took outcome past 12 months, according to facts from the Texas Department of Public Security. That was a little down from the calendar year in advance of and constant with a drop in other violent crime figures throughout the condition.

Disaster centers in Texas say the selection of rape victims they have accompanied to hospitals for examinations is rebounding given that the pandemic limitations retained advocates from getting into. The Women’s Middle in Fort Worthy of has produced more than 650 visits to counsel victims going through tests in the previous yr compared to about 340 in the yr prior, claimed Alisha Mathenia, the assistant director of disaster expert services at the center.

The majority of sexual assaults are by no means documented to law enforcement, building any obtainable data an incomplete picture. And about 8 out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by a human being acknowledged to the sufferer, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest Nationwide Community.

“We are not conversing about a substantial of range of rapists going for walks around on the street. That’s a fantasy,” claimed Democrat Donna Howard, a point out representative in Austin who co-authored the bill producing Abbott’s activity power.

At The Safe and sound Alliance in Austin, wherever sexual assault victims can get tests and medical treatment at its Eloise Home, senior director Juliana Gonzales stated it truly is admirable for Texas to work on rape prevention. “But I also consider it truly is significant for the condition to dwell in the truth that we have to reply to sexual assault,” she said.

Supply : https://www.cbsnews.com/dfw/information/texas-gov-abbotts-vow-to-reduce-all-rapists-rings-hollow-at-clinics/

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