The Lone Star State added another first-place trophy to its shelf of dubious honors this week. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that 26,313 rape-related pregnancies have occurred in Texas in the period following a near-total abortion ban. That’s more than the population of Corsicana, and 45 percent of the total rape-related pregnancies estimated by the study in states with similar bans. Texas, like many of those states, has no provision for rape.
Not only does Texas outpace other states in terms of raw numbers, it’s not even close. The next closest state is Missouri with 5,825. Texas can take some comfort when the numbers are run against population density. There, the state ranks fifth, with only 89 rape-related pregnancies per 100,000 people as opposed to the first-place winner, Arkansas, with 153 per 100,000.
Still, it’s a huge number of rapes. When the law went into effect in 2022, Governor Greg Abbott waved away concerns about such pregnancies by vowing to eliminate rape in Texas. It will be months or years before comprehensive numbers on rape have increased on decreased since Abbott’s promise, but the JAMA study proves that rape was definitely not eliminated and still remains a very large problem in reproductive choice specifically.
Meanwhile, the Texas Alliance for Life, one of the state’s most prominent anti-abortion groups, will host its annual Rally for Life this Saturday at the Capitol Building in Austin. The group’s website states they will gather to “celebrate the pro-life gains made and lives saved in Texas since the overturning of the terrible Roe v. Wade decision.” Presumably, those gains include a large town’s worth of children forced to be born to people who did not want them and who were impregnated against their will.
Texas Alliance for Life has been oddly silent since the release of the study, sending out a single tweet saying, “A child conceived in rape does not deserve to be killed for the crime of his father.” Though the rally promises to promote the “vast resources” available for pregnant Texans, speakers include representatives of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a radical anti-abortion think tank that promotes misinformation, such as that fetuses can experience pain at 15 week (the current scientific consensus is 23-24 weeks)
On their website, resources for pregnant Texans are limited to a phone number for a pregnancy help line.
It’s worth mentioning that the numbers from the study are estimates, not absolutes. As rape remains one of the most under-reported crimes, an accurate gauge of the amount of rape-related pregnancies is difficult. However, the number is almost certainly higher, not lower.
Thus far, the Texas Legislature has been extremely slow to add new options for the influx of Texans pregnant against their will. Since the ban, they have passed a minor expansion of Medicaid that allows Texans to stay on the program for a year post-partum but have otherwise not introduced safety net systems to accommodate the increased, unwanted births.