Politicians

Abbott Tells Fox News A Rape and Incest Exception To New Abortion Ban Won't Happen

Chris Wallace on Sunday asked Gov. Greg Abbott harder questions than he's used to getting on Fox.
Chris Wallace on Sunday asked Gov. Greg Abbott harder questions than he's used to getting on Fox. Screenshot
In a recent Fox News interview, Gov. Greg Abbot didn’t flinch when questioned as to why Texas’ new “heartbeat bill” that’s effectively banned abortions as early as six weeks after conception doesn’t have any exceptions for rape or incest, and said he believes there’s no way the Republican-led Texas Legislature will pass a proposed bill to add those exceptions.

During the same Sunday interview, Abbott also claimed the controversial audits of the 2020 election in Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin Counties announced last week by the Texas Secretary of State’s office “actually began months ago” and had nothing at all to do with former President Donald Trump’s public request that Abbott authorize an audit.

Before beginning his line of questioning about Texas’ abortion law, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace played a clip of Abbott from earlier this month. In response to a reporter’s question about why the new law didn’t include incest or rape exceptions, Abbott in the clip refused to answer, and instead said that “Goal number one in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape, so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of rape.”

When Wallace pressed Abbott once again on whether he’d consider adding exceptions for pregnancies brought about by rape or incest to the state’s abortion law (after mentioning that over 15,000 rapes were reported in Texas in 2019), Abbott refused to answer.


“Will you sign it or not?” Wallace asked, which prompted Abbott to claim “The goal is to protect the lives of every child with a heart beat.”

“Including the child of a rape?” Wallace asked. That prompted yet another evasion from Abbott, who began talking about increased funding for state “pregnancy centers” that dissuade women from getting abortions and the state’s commitment to protecting the safety of mothers and children, before Wallace cut him off.

“Are you saying sir — I don’t meant to interrupt — but are you saying that you will not sign an exception for rape and incest?” Wallace asked.

“You’re making a hypothetical that’s not going to happen because that bill is not going to reach my desk,” Abbott insisted.

When Wallace asked Sunday if Abbott himself was contributing to a Republican lack of confidence in the Texas election process by approving a likely costly audit of an election that Trump won, Abbott insisted that wasn’t the case.

“These audits that the state of Texas is doing, they actually began months ago,” Abbott claimed, “because the Secretary of State of Texas has an obligation to make sure that we do conduct audits in the state of Texas, and they have to be done in a way before any evidence about it would be limited.”

Abbott’s claim that the recently announced Texas election audits have been underway for quite some time directly contradicted statements from county elections officials and other leaders. Officials in Harris County claimed they hadn’t heard anything at all from the state about an audit of their election results prior to being blindsided by the official announcement Thursday night, hours after Trump asked Abbott to look into the results of a statewide election Trump won by nearly 6 percent.

“When y’all found out about this audit is when I found out about it,” Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria told reporters Friday. County Attorney Christian Menefee backed up Longoria: “As our elections administrator mentioned, our first time finding out about this at Harris County was via the press release that the Secretary of State’s office put out. There’s no guidance in that press release, there’s no indication of what exactly the Secretary of State’s office will be asking for.”

“Frankly, there’s no reference to the authority in the election code that allows them to do this,” Menefee said Friday, “and it’s pretty clear to all of us on this side that it’s happening in bad faith.”

“Frankly, there’s no reference to the authority in the election code that allows them to do this, and it’s pretty clear to all of us on this side that it’s happening in bad faith.” — Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee

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Abbott’s interview with Wallace Sunday was much more pointed than the conversations Abbott usually has with Fox’s weeknight opinion hosts Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, who’ve provided Abbott a comfortable platform to shout about President Joe Biden and other Democrats.

Over the past year-plus, Fox News been a safe place for Abbott to blast Democrats from the White House to the state Capitol in Austin for all sorts of alleged political sins, from supposedly mishandling the coronavirus pandemic with mask requirements and business closures to failing to protect the Texas-Mexico border from an “invasion” of immigrants, as his ally Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently referred to the influx of immigrants at the border.

click to enlarge Gov. Greg Abbott has been a fixture on Fox News — just not on Tucker Carlson's show. - SCREENSHOT
Gov. Greg Abbott has been a fixture on Fox News — just not on Tucker Carlson's show.
Screenshot

But Fox’s most watched and most radical host, Tucker Carlson, seems to be fed up with Abbott’s reported refusal to swing by his neck of the Fox News woods for an interview about the current “crisis” at the border.

“We have asked Gov. Greg Abbott many times to come on this show to explain why he hasn’t called the National Guard to seal the Texas border and protect the rest of us from this invasion. Greg Abbott has refused to come on, repeatedly,” Carlson said in a September 21 monologue on his show.

Pretty soon, Carlson said, “we plan to invite his primary opponents on this show to describe what they’d do if they ran Texas. That might be an interesting conversation.”

“We’d like to give Gov. Abbott one more chance to come on, sincerely. Please, come on and tell us how you plan to save the rest of us from what’s happening in your state,” Carlson said.

So far, Abbott hasn’t taken Carlson up on his offer. One of Abbott’s two ultra conservative primary opponents, former state GOP Chair Allen West, appeared on Carlson’s show two days later. Carlson asked West why he thought Abbott hadn’t sent even more National Guard troops to the border.

“You would have to ask the person that’s currently the governor, that obviously refuses to go on your show but goes on other shows where he thinks he has a nice listening audience,” West said.
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Schaefer Edwards is a staff writer at the Houston Press who covers local and regional news. A lifelong Texan and adopted Houstonian, he loves NBA basketball and devouring Tex-Mex while his cat watches in envy.
Contact: Schaefer Edwards