Fox News anchor Chris Wallace grills Gov. Abbott over no rape, incest exception in abortion law

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Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8, known as the “heartbeat bill,” into law May 19. (Screenshot from Governor’s Office Facebook Live broadcast)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pressed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for answers as to why the “Texas Heartbeat Act” doesn’t have exceptions for rape and incest during a segment on Fox News Sunday.

In a nearly 12-minute interview on several topics, Wallace spent the middle portion of it grilling Abbott about it, repeatedly asking Abbott if he would sign a measure that included an exception for victims of rape or incest, and Abbott didn’t give him straight answers.

“Let me just ask this question,” Wallace said. “A Republican state representative says that he’s going to offer a new measure that would restore the exception to the Texas abortion law for victims of rape and incest. If that came to your desk, will you sign it or not?”

Abbott replied, “We’ve got to go back to the reason why the law was created in the first place — to protect every child with a heartbeat. And we’re working to achieve that goal.”

Wallace continued to try to get a direct answer from Abbott, asking point-blank, “Are you saying sir … that you will not sign an exception for rape and incest?”

“First, I gotta tell you Chris, you’re making a hypothetical that’s not going to happen because that bill will never reach my desk,” Abbott replied.

Wallace said in 2019 an estimated 15,000 rapes were reported in Texas, and “many people feel that was a severe undercount.” Wallace asked Abbott if it was even reasonable to tell a rape victim, who may not know they are pregnant until after a fetal heartbeat is detected that, “Goal No. 1 is to eliminate rape in Texas,” like he said when he signed the bill into law.

Abbott replied, “Well, there’s multiple things I have to say in answer to this. But the first thing, obviously, is that survivors of sexual assault, they deserve support, care and compassion. And Texas is stepping up to make sure that we provide that by signing a law and creating in the governor’s office a sexual assault survivors task force.”

Abbott also said that Texas is giving $100 million to pregnancy centers for its Alternatives to Abortion program and go so far as to seek the death penalty against people repeatedly convicted of rape.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Texas for the law in early September.

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