Psaki shoots down Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's pledge to 'eliminate all rapists,' saying 'there has never in history' been a leader who's been able to do so

jen psaki greg abbott
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images; LM Otero/AP Photo
  • The press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's pledge to "eliminate all rapists."

  • She said there's never in history "been any leader who's ever been able to eliminate rape."

  • The White House has criticized the Texan law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday dismissed Gov. Greg Abbott's vow to "eliminate all rapists" amid criticism of Texas' new law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

"If Governor Abbott has a means of eliminating all rapists or all rape from the United States, then there'd be bipartisan support for that," Psaki told reporters during a White House press conference. She added, "There has never in the history of the country and the world been any leader who's ever been able to eliminate rape, eliminate rapists from our streets."

Psaki reacted to comments that Abbott made on Tuesday in Texas, when a reporter asked him, "Why force a rape or incest victim to carry a pregnancy to term?"

The governor responded that rape victims are given "at least six weeks" to get an abortion, and he pledged that "Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets."

"So goal No. 1 in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of it," Abbott added.

Vice President Kamala Harris also criticized Abbott's comments on Wednesday, saying, "To arrogantly dismiss concerns about rape survivors and to speak the words that were empty words, that were false words, that were fueled with not only arrogance but bravado, that is not who we want in our leaders."

The White House has sharply rebuked Texas' six-week abortion ban since it took effect last Wednesday. President Joe Biden said the law directly violates Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The law is one of the most restrictive in the nation and prohibits almost all abortions after the six-week mark of pregnancy, a time when many people do not yet know they're pregnant. It took effect after the Supreme Court denied a request from abortion providers in Texas to block it. The court's majority said the ruling was technical and not based on the substance of the law, which could still be legally challenged.

Psaki reiterated on Wednesday that the White House is committed to helping women in Texas get access to safe and legal abortions.

"This law is a violation of your rights," Psaki said. "We are going to do everything we can to provide assistance as quickly as we can."

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