AOC Schools GOP Lawmakers On How Periods Work During Hearing

by Julie Scagell

AOC slammed legislators for claiming all women know they are pregnant before six weeks

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) once again took legislators to school during a hearing on S.B. 8 this week — this time about how female anatomy works and to take to task the very notion that all women know they are pregnant before six weeks — the timing the Texas abortion law dictates a person is “too late” for an abortion.

Republican legislators continued to argue Thursday that the state’s new abortion law will not force women who have been raped to carry their pregnancies to term because they’d know they’re pregnant before the law’s six-week cutoff. They even brought in a doctor, Dr. Ingrid Skop, a Texas-based member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, to argue six weeks is plenty of time to realize you missed your period, take a pregnancy test, schedule an abortion, and have the procedure carried out — all while dealing with the shock of what’s happened.

“Once again we’re in a room of legislators who are attempting to legislate reproductive systems that they know nothing about,” Ocasio-Cortez said after Skop said definitively that she thinks, “there’s adequate time in this law for a woman who’s been raped to discover that she’s pregnant, and if she wants to terminate the pregnancy, I think that she has time to do it.”

Ocasio-Cortez continued: “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.”

She went on to continue to speak out on behalf of rape survivors, which she herself is. “When you are raped, you don’t always know what happened to you,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And I speak about this as a survivor. You are in so much shock at what happened to you, sometimes it takes years to realize what actually went on.”

She went on to educate the room about all the reasons why a person can be late for their period or think they may be pregnant, including a woman’s weight and surviving the trauma of being raped.

“I’m two weeks late for my period. And you’re supposed to expect me to know that I’m pregnant?” she said. “Or the stress of a sexual assault — that makes you two weeks late for your period, whether you’re pregnant or not.”

Ocasio-Cortez also made an extremely important point about people somehow believing rapists are people that lurk “on a street or in a parking lot waiting to sexually assault you,” reminding them rapes are “overwhelmingly” committed by someone the victim knows.

“That myth only benefits the abusers in power that want you to think that that’s how it happens. It’s your friend. It’s a boyfriend. It’s a boss. It’s a legislator,” she said. “Unbelievable. Unbelievable that the Republican side would call a witness so irresponsible and hurtful to survivors across this country.”