Missouri lawmaker apologizes for using term 'consensual rapes' in abortion bill debate

A Missouri lawmaker walked back comments he made Friday during a debate over a restrictive anti-abortion bill on the floor of the Missouri State House.

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Republican Rep. Barry Hovis apologized for using the term "consensual rapes," saying he misspoke during the intense debate to ban abortions in the state at eight weeks, before many women even know they're pregnant, according to The Kansas City Star.

"I'm not trying to make excuses," Hovis said. "Sometimes you make a mistake and you own up to it," The Washington Post reported Hovis said.

Hovis, a 30-year veteran of the Cape Girardeau Police Department, who was first elected to state government in 2018, was talking about the sexual assault cases he had handled as a police officer, saying most weren't strangers "jumping out of bushes," the Star reported.

"That was one, two times out of 100," he said. "Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible."

Hovis’ Democratic colleague Rep. Raychel Proudie immediately corrected Hovis on the House floor, saying “there is no such thing as consensual rape.”

Hovis later told The Associated Press that he meant to say "date rapes or consensual or rape."

“It’s my apology if I didn’t enunciate the word ‘or,’” he said.

The House passed the anti-abortion bill, which provides no exceptions in cases of rape or incest, on a 110-44 vote, the Star reported, and sent it to the state's Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

Parson is expected to sign the bill.

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