Texas Legislator Says Rape Kits Cause Abortions, Get Women "Cleaned Out"

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You likely know a woman who's had an abortion. You may not realize it, and she may not have informed you -- or you may very well be the woman in question -- but with 1.45 percent of women aged 15-44 in Texas getting an abortion annually, the odds are that you've met, befriended, or loved a woman who has obtained an abortion in our state.

Such breadth is both why certain legislators in Texas's right-lean Legislature have brought forth a bill that would unconstitutionally ban abortions after 20 weeks, and why hundreds of women, as well as those on the Democratic side of the aisle, have attempted to stymie efforts to bring the bill to fruition. If you've had the pleasure of being anywhere near Austin or Twitter over the past 72 hours, you've witnessed one of the most contentious battles of the 83rd Legislative season unfurl. It's fractured the state in a way that discussions on neo-vouchers and water rights never quite managed.

The discussion reached its nadir on Sunday, courtesy of the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg. Firstly, Laubenberg rejected out of hand any potential amendments to her bill, and in one of the more cowardly manners possible. According to the AP, "Laubenberg, who has difficulty debating bills, then simply rejected all proposed changes to her bill without speaking until the end of the debate." Difficulty debating bills. Not entirely sure what she's doing in Austin, or if she brings any perceptible skills to the table.

But we digress. The true low point, the moment that will be stamped onto Laubenberg's career for as long as she trundles through Austin, came during her timorous, nerve-addled decision to speak. After Houston's Senfronia Thompson attempted to call for an exemption for women suffering through rape or incest, Laubenberg opened herself to as much criticism as she's ever received:

In the emergency room they have what's called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out. ... The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development

Along with most of the people who've since seen Laubenberg's comments, we haven't the foggiest idea what the representative from Murphy was talking about. She either mistook rape kits for Plan B pills, neither of which produce an abortion, or she somehow believed that rape kits in and of themselves, and administered five months later, can lead to an abortion. Either idea is as idiotic as it sounds.

Also, while we're not medically credentialed, we're fairly certain that "cleaned out" -- in addition to being a terrifically crass way of describing the basic procedures of a rape kit -- is as far from accurate as Laubenberg's original point. This woman managed to fumble an already incorrect point. A Gohmert-level show of foolishness.

As it is, Thompson granted Laubenberg the benefit of the doubt. "I thought she might have been confused about what we were talking about that moment," Thompson told Hair Balls. "I don't think it was lack of knowledge."

The bill, which passed through the House Monday morning and is set to pass through the Senate Tuesday, strikes a marked level of meanness. According to CDC's 2009 data, the most recent offered, 0.6 percent of Texas's abortions took place at 21 weeks or more. (New Mexico, which will likely see more Texans flocking for abortions, already leads the nation with nearly five percent of its abortions coming with the pregnancy at least 21 weeks in.) From 2000-2009, moreover, abortions at 21 weeks or more dropped 13.3 percent. Those obtaining these abortions are an increasingly declining crowd, now targeted by Laubenberg and her lackeys.

Unfortunately, Laubenberg's office didn't return any calls to clarify the matter. We'd love to imagine what form of verbal gymnastics would have gotten her out of this. We'd also love to ask her why she believes that capping abortion rights at 20 weeks would somehow be found constitutional within Texas, or why she hasn't any qualms with shuttering 37 of Texas's 42 abortion clinics, or why she seems to ascribe to science as debunked as anything this side of creationism.

And we'd love to ask her if she knows anyone who's ever been "cleaned out" before. We're betting she does.

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