A Missouri lawmaker found himself in hot water after speaking on the House floor during a debate over the state’s passage of the heartbeat bill.
If enacted, the restrictive legislation will ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy with exceptions for medical emergencies. No exceptions will be made for cases of rape or incest, similar to that of Alabama’s near-total abortion ban that was passed earlier this week.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by Governor Mike Parson.
Republican Representative Barry Hovis backpedaled after his use of the phrase “consensual rapes” in the chamber on Friday.
The former police officer recalled his experiences while working at the Cape Girardeau Police Department and said:
“Most of my rapes were not the gentlemen jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met. That was one or two times out of a hundred.”
"Most of my rapes were not the gentleman jumping out of the bushes that nobody ever met… Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes…"
GOP lawmaker arguing for forced birth for rape victims in Missouri abortion law.pic.twitter.com/brPtZPYZIx
— Q. Allan Brocka (@allanbrocka) May 18, 2019
“Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible, but I sat in court — sat in court — when juries would struggle with those types of situations where it was a ‘he said, she said,’ and they would find the person not guilty. Unfortunate, if it really happened, but I had no control over that.”
Pro-lifers as well as those who support women’s rights bristled over his comments, especially that of the contradictory term of “consensual rape.”
Is date rape, possibly commited by someone the victim knows and trusts, less traumatic and illegal than an attack and rape by a stranger? Is this what he's implying? Bc I'm guessing it's at best equal and at worst far more horrifying. Oh. And consensual rape is not a real thing.
— R. Rayburn (@SweetHott74) May 19, 2019
…. The literal definition of rape is that it’s not consensual.
— Steph 🌻 (@ValaBlack) May 19, 2019
You sir, Mr Idiot Lawmaker, should not be allowed to talk.
— HollyMGS (@Holly12571361) May 18, 2019
— Brett Pransky (@BrettPransky) May 17, 2019
Democratic Representative Raychel Proudie told her colleagues on the House floor that “there is no such thing as consensual rape.”
Hovis retracted his statement and apologized for not enunciating the word “or.”
The lawmaker, who serves the city of Jackson since being elected in November, implied to the Associated Press that he meant to say “date rapes or consensual or rape.”
“It’s my apology if I didn’t enunciate the word ‘or’.”
The man is a bumbling bafoon who has no fecking clue what he’s even talking about!!! pic.twitter.com/mrjpFkHtrp
— Jo (@Smiling_Bean) May 18, 2019
I want someone to consensually mug him
— El 🖤 (@elyra_chan) May 19, 2019
Can't have the word consensual and rape in the same sentence! Dude is showing his ignorance. Let's fight this hard to keep the rapists in jail. Do what is necessary to show them they wont get away with it. Instead of telling us women what we can or cannot do.
— KarmasKin (@WomanWithATude) May 19, 2019
The Huffington Post reported that Hovis continued going on damage control mode by telling Kansas City’s KCTV5 about his misspoken comment.
“I do want to make sure that I correct that.”
But reporter Angie Ricono called out his insincerity by noting he didn’t correct himself while speaking.
Hovis’ rewritten statement is:
“Most of my rapes were not the gentlemen jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met. That was one or two times out of a hundred. Most of them were date rapes or consensual or rapes, which were all terrible, but I sat in court — sat in court — when juries would struggle with those types of situations where it was a ‘he said, she said,’ and they would find the person not guilty. Unfortunate, if it really happened, but I had no control over that.”
How is this better?
Missouri joins Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio in criminalizing abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which may occur after six weeks when most unintentionally pregnant women are unaware of their pregnancy. A doctor performing the procedure could face prison for up to 99 years.
The anti-abortion legislation is part of a nationwide attempt to de-legitimize Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that favored a woman’s right to choose.