Republican Congressman Michael Burgess thinks we should ban abortion after 20 weeks because precocious male fetuses are already expertly jacking off by 15 weeks and are thus capable of feeling both "pleasure" and pain.
Pause for a moment and envision a frantically masturbating fetus/former OB-GYN Burgess (as conveniently pictured above; he's probably thinking about your sexy swollen uterus) before wondering whether we've reached peak anti-woman wingnuttery yet. Probs not.
This one time in November 2012, a bunch of politicians who talked about issues other than protecting unborn angels got elected/re-elected. Crazy!! It seemed like the GOP had learned an important lesson: relinquish the sacred vagina as party platform. But then Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder last month, giving new energy to the anti-abortion movement, even though the Philadelphia physician wouldn't have been able to mistreat patients for so long if all women had access to safe and legal reproductive care. Psh, details.
Now, Republicans are rabidly trying to take advantage of the Gosnell case to push new anti-abortion legislation without pulling a Todd Akin. It's a thin line, especially when all of these old white dudes actually believe the bonkers shit they're spewing. (See: Trent Franks' recent thoughts on "rare rape.") And that's why Burgess, a Republican congressman from Texas, defended the cutely-named “Pain-Capable Infant Protection Act" — which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks and is the most restrictive anti-abortion bill to come to a vote in either the House or the Senate in a decade — by explaining that fetuses (male only, of course — women don't feel sexual pleasure) can rock out with their cocks out after three weeks in the womb. From RH Reality Check:
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”
It bears repeating: Burgess is a former OB-GYN. What else can he glean from such inchoate movements? Let's play fetus charades!
All jokes aside — and oh, there are SO MANY jokes to be made — we can't make light of the ridiculous pseudo-science ("pseudo" is being too kind, really; the claim that 20-week-old fetuses can feel pain comes from an oft-disputed study) declarations belching out of newly invigorated congressmen at frightening speed. The 20-week abortion ban is expected to pass later today; it'll be ignored by the Democratic-led Senate and the White House, but that doesn't mean we can ignore its existence. We should be able to impeach politicians for defending legislation on the grounds of fantasy, whether based on religion, fake science, or fetal porn.