As a pro-lifer, I never suspected I would find myself agreeing with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a matter concerning abortion. But despite being resolutely pro-abortion, her comments about the Texas Heartbeat Act, which prohibits abortion after six weeks, gave the pro-life movement something to think about.
During a September meeting of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform concerning the Texas law, Dr. Ingrid Skop, a Texas pro-life obstetrician, was asked if she agreed with the lack of an exception in the case of rape. She responded that six weeks would be enough time for a woman who was raped to get an abortion. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez pounced:
Six weeks pregnant is two weeks late for one’s period. 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 at what happened to you, sometimes it takes years to realize what actually went on. So this idea that victims know in the two weeks that they might be late for their period? I’m a buck 15. I’m 115 pounds. You look at me funny, I’m two weeks late for my period. And you’re supposed to expect me to know that 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.
Ocasio-Cortez’ words seem right to me. To say, in effect, “women have time to get it together in two weeks” sounds utterly void of understanding and compassion for women who have endured, or may endure, the degrading violation that rape is. I am certain Dr. Skop didn’t mean it like that—she has given her career to serving women. It appeared to me that she got cornered by the law itself.
While obviously not her intention, Ocasio-Cortez exposed the premise underneath the law, that killing children is an acceptable response to rape. Regardless of how conceived, the law suggests killing a six-week-old child is OK, but not a seven-week-old. Which is precisely the reasoning at the foundation of Roe v Wade. When Justice Henry Blackmun created the notions of viability and trimesters, he in effect declared age matters in determining whether a woman can have her child killed.
I understand the rationale behind the Texas law. By restricting abortion as it does, it may save infant lives. But it reinforces the logic of Roe, that some are worthy of protection, and others are not. That being the case, perhaps lives won’t be saved after all. Not only might such a law allow abortion to persist over the longer term, but once you open that door, it becomes very difficult to shut it. In the words of George Orwell, the creed “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” leads in only one direction. It is dark, it is deadly, and it is no respecter of persons—born or unborn.
Ocasio-Cortez put a finger on a fatal weakness in the law, and she was right to pounce on it. Her response should give us pause. When pro-lifers, even if unwittingly, affirm Roe’s premise, we encourage abortion culture. Furthermore, we sabotage the effort to end abortion, for our arguments look foolish by not being straightforward. The response “well, two weeks should be enough time for a woman to get an abortion” deserves the scorn it received. Better is “we do not kill children in Texas.”