Missouri lawmakers on Friday approved legislation to ban abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, becoming the latest state to put severe restrictions on the procedure — and spurring a controversy with a Republican legislator.
The legislation passed the state house of representatives on Friday after being approved by the senate on Thursday. If Republican Governor Mike Parson signs it into law, doctors who perform abortions after the eight-week cutoff would be subject to potential felony charges and the loss of their medical license. Parson has signaled his support, saying, “Thanks to the leaders in the House and Senate, we have the opportunity to be one of the strongest pro-life states in the country.”
During Friday’s debate, Republican legislator and former law enforcement officer Rep. Barry Hovis used the phrase “consensual rape,” drawing strong and immediate condemnation from Democrat Rep. Raychel Proudie.
Hovis, reflecting on his experience in law enforcement, had said, “Let’s just say someone goes out and they’re raped or they’re sexually assaulted one night after a college party — because most of my rapes were not the gentleman jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met. Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible.”
“There is no such thing, no such thing, as consensual rape,” Proudie said, sparking applause from the chamber.
On Friday, Hovis issued an apology. “I’m not trying to make excuses,” he said. “Sometimes you make a mistake, and you own up to it.”
He later told The Washington Post that he misspoke and that he believes there is “no such thing as consensual rape.”
He noted, “When a rape is reported, and I’ll speak for myself, you always take the word of the victim.”
Both Hovis and Proudie can both be seen in the clip below:
What on earth is “consensual rape” Rep. Barry Hovis & why are you calling rapists “gentlemen?!” In the US someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. First the rapists rob women of our bodily autonomy, then the politicians do. “You’ve never really studied it?” Then sit down. pic.twitter.com/pdqg5WsMIJ
— Liuba Grechen Shirley (@liuba4congress) May 18, 2019
The Senate vote on the Missouri abortion ban came just 24 hours after Alabama passed a bill outlawing all abortion outright and calling for doctors who perform the procedure to be jailed for up to 99 years in prison. A number of other Republican-controlled states have also recently passed extreme bills restricting abortion — including Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio, all of which have passed so-called heartbeat laws banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.