A Republican congressman from Missouri, Unite States said many cases of sexual assault are “consensual rape”, before backtracking by saying he misspoke and apologising.

During a debate in the state’s House about the controversial bill that bans abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, Barry Hovis said most of the rapes cases he had come across when he was a law enforcement officer in the Cape Girardeau Police Department were “date rapes or consensual rapes”. According to him, while they were “all terrible,” they were also “he-said-she-said” situations.

The restrictive bill was passed in the Missouri House on Friday, a few days after it was passed in the Alabama Senate. Criticism levelled against the bill includes the fact that most women do not know they are pregnant until after eight weeks, and the bill provided no exceptions for pregnancies in cases of rape or incest.

According to The Washington Post, Raychel Proudie, a Democratic member of the House, chided him immediately saying there was no such thing as “consensual rape.” After the bill was passed, Hoves apologised for using the phrase. “I’m not trying to make excuses,” he said. “Sometimes you make a mistake and you own up to it.” He added that he believes there was “no such thing as consensual rape.”