Progressives Slam Republican Lawmaker’s ‘Insensitivity’ To Rape Victims

By John Celock

Pro-choice leaders in Missouri are criticizing a Republican state senator’s comments that a rape victim who does not seek emergency contraception and gets pregnant wants to have a child.

State Sen. David Sater (R-Cassville) made the statement Friday to in response to a question on why rape victims were not exempted from proposed legislation to extend the state’s abortion waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours. The legislation, which was passed by the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives earlier this week, is currently pending the GOP-controlled state Senate.

“There’s no common ground on the bill. There’s no place I can go or Democrats can go, so it’s just a philosophical difference and we can’t make a compromise,” Sater told “I just want to make sure that woman knows we’re dealing with the life of a child and that child has a chance to survive. My bill is an intent to decrease the number of abortions in the state of Missouri.”

Progressive leaders said that Sater’s comments ignore that emergency contraception is always readily available in Missouri. Peter Brownlie, the president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, told The Celock Report that Sater’s comments were “sadly predictable insensitivity to women who have been raped.”

He noted that lawmakers making it harder to obtain emergency contraception has been an issue that has hurt rape victims. Brownlie said that a rape victim does not immediately think of emergency contraception in the moments after the attack and there is no set way a victim would react.

“When a women has been traumatized in that way, she not always act predictably,” Brownlie said. “It is a callous and insensitive remark.”

State Rep. Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis), who helped lead the House opposition to the bill, told The Celock Report that Sater’s comments are “completely out of line and out of touch.” She noted that as a pharmacist, Sater should realize the issues regarding emergency contraception access in Missouri. She said that he and other Republicans wants to create a “double whammy” for state residents.

“Senator Satar is a pharmacist and he should know better,” Newman said. “If you are going to prevent a woman from having access to it then you can’t penalize her later. It is ideology trumping common sense.”

The legislation is part of a series of anti-abortion bills moving through the Missouri Legislature this year. Progress Missouri spokeswoman Pamela Merritt told The Celock Report that it is part of an election year maneuver by legislative Republicans. She also characterized Sater’s comments as “insulting” towards rape victims.

“It is important to note that the bill is part of a lot of bills that are basically political posturing by the majority in an election year and have nothing to do with women’s health,” Merritt said.

While state House Republicans easily passed the bill on Wednesday, state Senate Democrats successfully staged a four hour filibuster Wednesday evening to delay a vote. On Thursday, state Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin) told that he would consider using a parliamentary maneuver to force a Senate vote next week. He admitted that he has not consulted with others in the Senate GOP leadership about the plan.

Progressives argued that the bill needs a longer time period to be debated and should be not be rushed through.

“This is not something our Legislature should be spending time on,” Brownlie told The Celock Report. “This is a decision between a woman and her family, her doctor and her faith. The Legislature has more serious things to spend time on. This bill is insulting to women. It is based on an assumption that a woman has not put any thought in to a decision to terminate a pregnancy.”