Republican leaders in Texas suddenly indicate an openness to allowing rape or incest victims access abortions.
Bringing you the news: The long-serving Republican state senator said he would be open to a carve-out for rape at the Texas Tribune’s TribFest on Friday, and the Texas House Speaker predicted lawmakers would revisit the subject.
Present situation: Abortions are illegal in Texas under existing law, especially in cases involving rape and incest.
What they say is this: State Senator Robert Nichols of East Texas said on a legislative preview panel, “If I get the chance to vote for an exemption to rape, I will vote yes.” In my opinion, we should show our support for the ladies of this state rather than instruct them on what to do.
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Be aware: Nichols supported stringent abortion regulations in Texas last year that did not provide an exception for rape or incest. (At TribFest, he avoided mentioning the exception for incest.)
The House may amend the statute that makes abortion illegal, according to House Speaker Dade Phelan, who also mentioned this to Tribune CEO Evan Smith. Phelan stated that he has heard from House members who are worried that there are no rape or incest exclusions to the statute.
Within the text: Before the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans were concerned about alienating women voters, particularly those in suburban areas.
The Texas abortion law would “cause a tremendous difficulty for Republicans in the Legislature next year when they have to deal with it,” predicted Karl Rove at TribFest on Saturday.
Joe Straus, a former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, referred to the law as “a massive disaster” and “a self-inflicted wound to members of my party who should’ve paid more attention and didn’t think the ramifications would be onerous for them.”
Using numbers: According to a University of Texas poll, only 13% and 11% of Texans, respectively, believe that pregnant women shouldn’t be able to get abortions in cases of rape or incest. True, but By Friday afternoon, conservative Republicans were branding Phelan and Nichols RINOs.
Our thought balloon reads: Nothing will change formally until the Legislature reconvenes in Austin the next year because it is not currently in session. Additionally, once the midterm election results are known, there may be less political pressure to enact carve-outs.