Republicans Are No Longer Pretending They Ever Cared About Exceptions for Rape or Incest

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Sunday defended the lack of exceptions for cases of rape and incest in the state’s new law that outlaws abortions after six weeks, arguing that there is still a “human being” inside the womb in those cases. 

“I have daughters, I can’t even imagine what it would be like in that hardship,” the Republican governor told Fox News. “That is a human being inside the womb. We’re gonna do everything we can to protect the life and love of both the mother and the child—and we don’t think killing one to protect another is the right thing to do either.”

“Our heart is super compassionate about that,” he added.

The lack of exceptions for rape and incest is an extreme view, one that proved too much for even Donald Trump. But after Alabama passed a law in 2019 that left out exceptions in cases of rape and incest, similarly harsh provisions are gaining steam in the crop of abortion restrictions around the country.

In fact, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was also on the Sunday morning news circuit today pushing the same line. “They’re still babies,” Ricketts told CNN when asked if his plans to ban abortion would similarly leave out cases of rape or incest. 

For years, the mainstream view among Republicans, at least publicly, has been to make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or situations in which a mother’s life is in jeopardy. But the GOP is evidently feeling newly emboldened as the Supreme Court is all but certain to overturn Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks, publicly supporting issues that once seemed too extreme.

That’s what makes Stitt’s reference to his daughters as apparent evidence that he has empathy even more absurd here. When you’ve won the decades-long mission to destroy reproductive rights, what purpose does feigning compassion serve at this point? 

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