The state of Texas continues to face national outcry after the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation went into effect. Senate Bill 8, also misleadingly known as the "heartbeat bill," forbids abortions after six weeks—long before the fetal viability period, making it a blatant violation of Roe v. Wade.
S.B. 8 bans abortions after six weeks, before many even know they're pregnant. What's more, it allows anyone who aided or abetted a procedure after that time—from doctors who perform an abortion to Uber drivers who transport someone to a clinic—to be subject to criminal liability. The law offers up to a $10 thousand bounty to those who successfully report an illegal abortion.
This week, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the injustices of S.B. 8 and the broader attempts of Republican state legislatures to encroach on the bodily autonomy of anyone with a uterus.
Most memorably, three Democratic representatives—Barbara Lee of Texas, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Cori Bush of Missouri—testified about their own abortions in an effort to emphasize the importance of an individual's—and not their governments—decide when and how they give birth.
Another notable moment came from firebrand progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
Earlier in the hearing, a Republican witness—Dr. Ingrid Skop, an anti-abortion OB/GYN—addressed the lack of exemptions for rape and incest in S.B. 8, as well as the six week time limit on legal abortion.
Skop falsely claimed:
"S.B. 8 gives enough time for a woman who knows she's been raped to determine that she is pregnant."
As her five minutes of questioning commenced, a visibly irritated Ocasio-Cortez, known colloquially as AOC, fact-checked Dr. Skop and shamed the Republican lawmakers on the committee, most of whom are cisgender men, for not knowing basic biology.
"I need to correct and address an assertion that was made not too long ago, this idea, this myth that, first of all, that this law S.B. 8 provides ample time for a victim of abuse to seek abortion care. Because once again we're in a room of legislators who are attempting to legislate reproductive systems that they know nothing about. Six weeks pregnant—and it's shameful that this education needs to happen, because this conversation shouldn't even be held in a legislative body—six weeks pregnant is two weeks late for one's period. When you are raped, you don't always know what happened to you. And I speak about this as a survivor. You are in so much shock.
After noting the variety of conditions, both related and unrelated to sexual assault, that can delay a period, she continued:
"Unbelievable. Unbelievable that the Republican side would call a witness so irresponsible and hurtful to survivors across this country. Honestly. [Y]our constituents [deserve] an apology."
People widely agreed.
They praised the argument she laid out.
The conservative Supreme Court has refused to intervene in the enforcement of S.B. 8.