AOC educates GOP on periods during abortion debate: ‘Legislating reproductive systems you know nothing about’

‘You are in so much shock at what happened to you, sometimes it takes years to realize what actually went on,’ Ocasio-Cortez says about sexual assault

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Friday 01 October 2021 15:42 BST
AOC educates legislators on periods in abortion debate
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New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez educated legislators on periods in an abortion debate and criticised the status quo of men governing bodies they “know nothing about”.

On Thursday, Republican lawmakers argued that the new Texas abortion law – that has been estimated will block up to 90 per cent of abortions in the state – doesn’t force women who have been raped to finish the pregnancy.

The Texas law bans abortions after cardiac activity has been discovered, which usually takes place after six weeks of pregnancy. Republican lawmakers have argued rape victims would know before the six-week deadline that they were pregnant.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez noted such statements showed ignorance - not only about female anatomy - but also the trauma caused by sexual assault.

“Once again we’re in a room of legislators who are attempting to legislate reproductive systems that they know nothing about,” the New York congresswoman said at an Oversight Committee hearing about the abortion law.

She remarked that a woman is considered to be six weeks pregnant when her period is two weeks late, but a woman can miss or have their period be late for several reasons, such as stress caused by a sexual assault. She also noted that it may take some time to grapple with what happened following an assault.

“When you are raped, you don’t always know what happened to you,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said. “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.”

She added that a woman’s weight can also change the consistency of her periods and that it was not realistic for a woman to know if they are pregnant within a deadline of six weeks.

“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?” she said. “Or the stress of a sexual assault — that makes you two weeks late for your period, whether you’re pregnant or not.”

The lawmaker also said that rapes are “overwhelmingly” committed by someone the victim already knows and that it’s rarely a stranger who’s the perpetrator.

“This myth, that it’s some person lurking on a street or in a parking lot waiting to sexually assault you, that myth only benefits the abusers in power that want you to think that that’s how it happens,” she said. “It’s your friend. It’s a boyfriend. It’s a boss. It’s a legislator.”

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