Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Thursday railed against a witness before the House Oversight and Reform Committee who defended the recent controversial, six-week abortion ban in Texas, arguing that “sometimes it takes years” for someone to process that they have been sexually assaulted.
Ingrid Skop, a Texas-based doctor who is a defender of the Texas abortion ban, had argued during the hearing on abortion rights and access that the state law, which prohibits abortions after cardiac activity is detected or about six weeks into a pregnancy, provides enough time for women to determine if a pregnancy resulted from an instance of sexual assault.
“In the case of a rape, women generally know that they’ve been raped,” Skop said.
However, Ocasio-Cortez, who earlier this year opened up about previously being sexually assaulted, took issue with the doctor’s testimony, saying, “When you are raped, you don’t always know what happened to you.”
“And I speak about this as a survivor,” the congresswoman added, noting that “six weeks pregnant is two weeks late for one’s period.”
“This myth that it’s some person lurking on a street or in a parking lot waiting to sexually assault you,” she continued. “That myth only benefits the abusers in power who want you to think that’s how it happens.”
“It’s your friend. It’s a boyfriend. It’s a boss. It’s a legislator,” Ocasio-Cortez explained. “You are in so much shock at what’s happened to you, sometimes it takes years to realize what actually went on.”
She went on to say, “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 I'm pregnant?” she questioned, adding that the stress of a sexual assault could also make a person “two weeks late for your period, whether you’re pregnant or not.”
Ocasio-Cortez argued it was “unbelievable” for Republicans to call Skop as a witness, saying she was “so irresponsible and hurtful to survivors across this country.”
The Supreme Court last month declined to block the Texas law from going into effect, prompting concerns from Democrats and abortion rights activists, especially because the law does not provide exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
The abortion ban also allows virtually any citizen to file a lawsuit against an abortion provider or anyone who may have aided in the performance of an abortion that violates the six-week ban.