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During a House Oversight Committee hearing on abortion Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., excoriated an anti-abortion witness who had asserted that women who have been raped have ample time to seek abortion care under a controversial Texas law that bans the procedure after six weeks.
“Six weeks pregnant is two weeks late for one’s period,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “When you are raped, you don’t always know what happened to you. And I speak about this as a survivor. You are in so much shock.”
Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that most victims of sexual assault are assaulted by someone they know.
“This myth that it’s some person lurking on a street or in a parking lot waiting to sexually assault you — that myth only benefits the abusers in power who want you to think that’s how it happens,” she said. “It’s your friend. It’s a boyfriend. It’s a boss. It’s a legislator. You are in so much shock at what’s happened to you, sometimes it takes years to realize what actually went on.”
Ocasio-Cortez argued that two weeks is not nearly enough time to recognize an unwanted pregnancy.
“I’m a buck-15. I’m 115 pounds. You look at me funny, I'm two weeks late for my period,” she said. “And you’re supposed to expect me to know I'm pregnant? Or the stress of a sexual assault? That makes you two weeks late for your period, whether you’re pregnant or not.”
Earlier in the hearing, Dr. Ingrid Skop, a Texas-based ob-gyn, defended the state's newly passed Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion after six weeks and makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
Skop said that women often know when they are raped and have time to figure out if they’re pregnant.
“In the case of a rape, women generally know that they’ve been raped,” she said.
The Texas law, she said, “gives enough time for a woman who knows she’s been raped to determine that she is pregnant.”
Ocasio-Cortez said it was “unbelievable” that the Republicans on the committee would call a witness who would be so “irresponsible and hurtful to survivors across this country.”
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