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SB 8 ignores rape and incest survivors

Survivors Advocacy Organization speaks out about SB 8

HOUSTON, TX – Rape and incest survivors had their rights to the option of abortion stripped when Senate Bill 8 became law on September 1st.

SB 8, which bans abortion in the state of Texas upon detection of fetal cardiac activity, or as early as six weeks after gestation, will mean any woman or teen who is forcibly raped and becomes pregnant will be severely limited, if not restricted, from having an abortion.  In most instances, women do not even know they are pregnant until after the six weeks spelled out in this law.  By then, a person’s choice to have an abortion is not an option in Texas.

“Survivors already face enormous barriers in accessing healthcare,” said Chief Program Officer Sonia Corrales, a 29-year veteran advocate with HAWC.

“While violence is experienced by all races and ethnicities, women from communities with a history of ongoing oppression, especially those who are low-income and from Black and Latino communities, have less access to protective resources. Our clients are largely low-income and are often from Black and Latino communities.  The stigma of rape, incest, and the trauma of assault are added barriers to accessing support and SB 8 will only further compound their hardship,” Corrales added.

Rape-related pregnancy (RRP) has been defined by the CDC as a public health problem, with nearly 3-million women in the U.S. experiencing a RRP in their lifetime.  This figure grows to a staggering 18 million women who have experienced vaginal rape, with nearly 1/3 of those women experiencing reproductive coercion from their partner, meaning their abuser tried to get them pregnant, stopped them from using birth control, or refused to use a condom.  Reproductive coercion is a form of power and control that strips a woman’s rights to her own reproductive health and decisions through threats, manipulation or physical violence.

HAWC stands by abortion rights advocates and those who continue challenging SB 8 through the legal system. Survivors who have endured the trauma of a rape related pregnancy deserve better.  They are entitled equal access to quality health care, and that includes a safe, accessible and legal abortion.