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Is Plan B an alternative to the right to an abortion after rape?

Advocates weigh in after Texas Governor says Plan B contraceptive could be used in cases of rape. Texas law does not allow abortion after a rape case.

TEXAS, USA — As of August 2022, Texas law only allows for an abortion to take place when the life of the mother is in danger. This means abortion is still illegal even in cases of rape and incest. 

Governor Greg Abbott defended the law Friday, and again on Tuesday, by saying that individuals involved in a rape case could take the 'Plan B' emergency contraceptive.

"Let me make something clear. The state provides Plan B at no cost to any person that is a victim of rape," Abbott said Tuesday while in Laredo. 

On Wednesday, 6 News contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services to ask how this program worked. 

"This is not something our agency is involved in," a spokesman said in response. 

DSHS was also not able to tell 6 News if any other state agency provided Plan B. 

Pro-Choice Waco activist Lilu Dyan told 6 News Wednesday, she also didn't know of any state program that provided Plan B. 

"As far as I know right now, [you] can go to Planned Parenthood to get the Plan B or go to the store yourself. I'm not sure what the hospitals do," Dyan said. 

6 News also spoke to Texas Alliance for Life Communications Director Amy O'Donnell about the governor's statements on Plan B. 

"It's not something that I am familiar with," O'Donnell said. 

Even if Plan B was widely available for free, Dyan said it is not a viable alternative to allowing women the right to an abortion in cases of rape. Dyan said, to start with, emergency contraceptives doesn't mean guaranteed protection.

"It is 85 percent effective. Also women on hormones, birth control, antidepressants, certain kinds of drugs, do not allow Plan B to do what it is meant to do," Dyan said. "There are a lot of things where Plan B could fail and women could still wind up pregnant."

Dyan said that high body weight could also be an issue affecting the drug. She said that contraceptives are also not easily available across the state. 

O'Donnell also confirmed to 6 News that Plan B was not effective all of the time.  

"They are not a hundred percent guarantee but they will provide victims of rape peace of mind that they have done what they can in that window right after that atrocious act," O'Donnel said. 

Dyan told 6 News, if Texas continues to only allow abortions when the life of the mother is at stake, it could lead to dire consequences for women who try other avenues to still have an abortion to avoid pregnancy after rape. 

"Medical procedures are going to go back underground. And when medical procedures go underground...that's when things get dangerous," Dyan said. "That's what you have to do to have a say over your own body and that's wrong."

O'Donnell, however, told 6 News the laws should stay in place as is. O'Donnell said the unborn individual is also a victim of rape and should not be killed.

"We as an organization are not in favor of a rape and incest exception. In the case of rape there are two victims: There is a mother, and there is a child that was conceived. That innocent unborn child is a second victim. And the woman shouldn't take the child's life for the father's crimes," O'Donnell said. 

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