When I saw the news reporting that a Texas state representative had said in “the emergency rooms they have what’s called rape kits, that the woman can get cleaned out…” and compared said rape kits to an abortion procedure, I thought that surely it was a misquote (I also felt sick to my stomach—seriously: “cleaned out?”). Surely, someone did not say that. But apparently someone did: Jodie Laubenberg.
I don’t know if this woman is confused or just stupid (she claims her thoughts came out “muddled” because she was trying to get them out as fast as she could), but I do know this: her words are dangerous.
Likening a sexual assault forensic evidence kit (aka rape kit) to abortion is just downright irresponsible. Not only is it just not true, but also it could potentially deter rape survivors from consenting to a rape kit when they visit the hospital after an attack. And why is that a problem? I’m glad you asked. It’s a problem because rape kits are a key tool in prosecuting rapists successfully. The evidence culled from rape kits (i.e. DNA) puts criminals behind bars—stops rapists from being able to rape again—gets predators off the streets. If a woman (particularly a pro-life woman) mistakenly thinks that a rape kit is a type of abortion, she’s more likely to opt out, which means her rapist is likely going to escape justice—and he’ll be back out there, trolling for his next victim.
Her thoughts may have been “muddled” in the process of becoming actual words, but the fact remains: her words were inaccurate and irresponsible…even dangerous. I only hope that the words spoken to sexual assault victims by doctors, nurses, and advocates outweigh the comments made by Ms. Laubenberg yesterday. It also wouldn’t hurt if she made a public statement admitting and correcting her error…but I won’t hold my breath for that.
Hey! You’ve read my disclaimer, right?