Missouri: A Republican legislator from Missouri apologised on Friday for saying that some acts of sexual violence and nature are “consensual rapes” during a debate over new, restrictive anti-abortion bill.
“I ain’t trying to make excuses here,” said Rep Barry Hovis, who represents city of Jackson in south-eastern Missouri. “Sometimes you make a mistake, and you have no option but to own up to it.”
Elected in 2018, the lawmaker, made the remark while talking on the State House floor, debating that the measure’s eight-week window for abortions “gives rape survivors considerable time” for the whole procedure. Critics say a lot of women do not know they are pregnant until after eight weeks, and there are no exceptions in rape and incest.
The veteran from Cape Girardeau Police Department then touched on his experiences handling rape cases.
“Let’s say someone goes out and they are rapes or sexually assaulted one night after a college party because most cases in my time were not the gentleman jumping out of the bushes that nobody ever met before,” Hovis said. “Those were merely one or two times out of hundred. Most of them were date rapes and consensual rapes, which were all terrible.”
Rep Raychel Proudie, a Democrat, quickly rebuked him.
"There is no such thing, no such thing as consensual rape at all," she said to applause from the whole chamber.
Hovis later agree and told The Washington Post that he was wrong to make such a derogatory statement and believes “there is no such thing as consensual rape.”
He further added in all his years as a law enforcement officer he always took rape cases seriously.
“When a rape is reported, you always take the word of the victim,” he said.
Missouri's GOP-controlled House passed the anti-abortion bill on Friday, which comes as lawmakers in a number of states have passed restrictive abortion laws that advocates on both sides. This is aimed at getting the Supreme Court to consider overturning Roe vs Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that had legalized abortion nationwide.
Hovis's remarks look back on a controversial comment made in 2012 by Todd Akin, a former congressman, that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy. After losing a 2012 race for US Senate, Akin tried to clarify his words, saying he should have instead said "legitimate case of rape."