Karl Rove says Texas’ abortion law is too extreme

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Veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove said Saturday that Texas’ abortion law is too extreme, underscoring an increasingly public discomfort with the measure among Republicans.

Rove made the comment during an exchange at a Texas Tribune Festival panel about elections following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. He said voters in Kansas had defeated an “extremist measure on abortion,” defining extreme as “essentially no abortion, no exceptions.”

“Do you think Texas is too extremist?” Tribune CEO Evan Smith asked.

“Yeah, I do,” Rove replied. “I think it’s gonna create a real problem for Republicans in the Legislature next year when they have to deal with it.”

Texas lawmakers passed a “trigger law” last year that automatically went into effect soon after the Roe decision and banned abortion without exceptions for rape or incest. Polls show very few voters support the lack of exceptions, and the law has complicated an election cycle that has been trending in Republicans’ favor on other issues.

Rove is not the only prominent Republican voice to express misgivings with Texas’ abortion ban. The speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, said Friday at the Tribune Festival that his chamber might revisit the law, saying he has heard from members who are also concerned about the lack of exceptions for rape or incest. Also speaking Friday at the Festival, state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, said he would support a rape exception.

However, Rove noted that he supports the court’s ruling and that decisions on abortions should be left to elected officials.