With the eyes of Texas and the nation on Austin this week as the legislature moves to pass a bill restricting abortions in the state, a Monday morning comment from the bill's sponsor, Jodie Laubenberg of Parker, has drawn widespread attention.
One provision in the bill would prohibit abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy. The Associated Press reported that Laubenberg's comment came after another lawmaker called for an exemption from that provision for women who were victims of rape or incest. Laubenberg explained why she felt such a provision would be unnecessary.
"In the emergency room they have what's called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out," she said, comparing the procedure to an abortion. "The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development."
Laubenberg's seeming confusion about "rape kits" - a phrase used to describe the equipment used by medical personnel during forensic examinations to gather physical evidence following allegations of rape or sexual assault - sparked widespread negative commentary on social media sites on Monday.
Laubenberg, a resident of the Collin County community of Parker, has served in the Texas Legislature since 2003. Laubenberg's district, District 89 includes Fairview, Lavon, Lowry Crossing, Lucas, Murphy, Nevada, Parker, St. Paul and Wylie and portions of Allen, Plano, Princeton and Sachse.
Laubenberg is Texas State Chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council.