Ocasio-Cortez slams Texas governor’s ‘disgusting’ defense of abortion ban

"It's not just ignorance, it's ignorance that's hurting people across this country."

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday condemned Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest defense of his state’s near-total ban on abortion as “disgusting” and said the Republican leader’s ignorance on matters of basic biology is actively harming people across the nation.

Questioned by reporters earlier Tuesday, Abbott argued that there is no need for a rape or incest exception to the new ban because the law “provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion”—a span of time that the governor characterized as sufficient for a person to discover they’re pregnant, make the decision to terminate the pregnancy, and actually obtain an abortion under increasingly difficult circumstances.

In an appearance on CNN, Ocasio-Cortez said she was appalled by Abbott’s comments, which she characterized as coming from “a place of deep ignorance.”

“And it’s not just ignorance, it’s ignorance that’s hurting people across this country,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

Lamenting that she had to “break down biology 101 on national television” for the leader of a major U.S. state, the New York congresswoman noted that “six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period.”

“Two weeks late on your period for any person, any person with a menstrual cycle, can happen if you’re stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “So you don’t have six weeks.”

“This is about making sure that someone like me, as a woman, or any menstruating person in this country cannot make decisions over their own body,” she continued. “And people like Governor Abbott and [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell want to have more control over a woman’s body than that woman or that person has over themselves.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s comments came nearly a week after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block Texas’ abortion ban, a 5-4 decision that allowed the most draconian assault on reproductive rights in the country to take effect. Legal analysts argued that the high court’s refusal to stop the ban effectively gutted Roe v. Wade and imperiled abortion access throughout much of the nation.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 11 U.S. states currently have in place “post-Roe laws to ban all or nearly all abortions that would be triggered if Roe were overturned.”

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, some Republican-led states are already moving to replicate the Texas law, which deputizes private individuals to enforce the abortion ban—a maneuver that makes the new restrictions more difficult to challenge in court.

To counter the GOP’s intensifying assault on reproductive rights, House Democrats are expected to vote later this month on legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade—the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established abortion as a constitutional right—into federal law.

“The Supreme Court’s cowardly, dark-of-night decision to uphold a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health is staggering,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement last week. “This ban necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade.”

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Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @johnsonjakep.

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