Lawmaker's Use of This Term Drew Hisses, Outrage

Barry Hovis brought up 'consensual rape' on Mo. House floor during arguments on new abortion bill
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2019 8:30 AM CDT
Lawmaker Walks Back Use of Term 'Consensual Rape'
In this March 23, 2019, photo, Missouri Rep. Barry Hovis is seen in Cape Girardeau, Mo.   (Jacob Wiegand/The Southeast Missourian via AP)

As pushback continues against strict abortion laws showing up in states around the country, including Georgia and Alabama, news out of the Show-Me State offers fresh controversy. On Friday, Missouri passed a ban against abortion at eight weeks, and during arguments on the state House floor about the measure, which doesn't allow for exceptions for rape or incest, GOP Rep. Barry Hovis said eight weeks is "ample time" for women to get an abortion before the cutoff. The former police officer also drew upon his past experience on the force for the controversial remarks he made next, per the Washington Post. "Let's just say someone goes out and ... they're raped ... one night after a college party—because most of my rapes were not the gentleman jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met," Hovis noted.

He added that that scenario took place just a handful of times out of every hundred, and that "most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible." His use of the terms "gentleman" and "consensual rape" prompted swift outrage, including from Democratic Rep. Raychel Proudie, who quickly shot back at him, "There is no such thing ... as consensual rape." The AP notes abortion rights advocates also hissed at him. Hovis later told the AP he's with Proudie and doesn't believe in the concept of consensual rape, but merely misspoke: He said he meant to say "date rapes or consensual or rape," adding, "It's my apology if I didn't enunciate the word 'or.'" (More abortion stories.)

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