A GOP state legislator in Missouri apologized Friday for using the phrase “consensual rape” during a debate over a restrictive anti-abortion bill.
“I’m not trying to make excuses,” said Rep. Barry Hovis, who represents Jackson, Mo., in the southeastern part of the state, the Washington Post reported. “Sometimes you make a mistake and you own up to it.”
The freshman lawmaker — a 30-year veteran of the Cape Girardeau Police Department — dropped the bombshell while arguing that the measure’s eight-week window for abortions gives rape victims “ample time” for the procedure, the Post reported. The bill provides no exceptions for rape or incest.
“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,” Hovis said, the Post reported. “That was one or two times out of a hundred. Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible.”
The remark elicited audible “whats”, one reporter tweeted.
Democratic state Rep. Raychel Proudie shot back: “There is no such thing, no such thing as consensual rape,” the Post reported, adding it elicited applause from the chamber.
“Just spoke with Rep. Hovis,” reporter Crystal Thomas tweeted. “He said he misspoke and meant to say [law enforcement officers] finding out whether what occurred was ‘consensual or rape.’ He didn’t realize the error until Proudie spoke. He apologized and said multiple times, ‘There is no such thing as consensual rape.’”
Missouri’s GOP-controlled House passed the anti-abortion bill Friday amid similar moves in other states to pass restrictive measures against abortion.