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Texas Republican Says He Wants to Ban Abortion Because ... Fetuses Masturbate?

The comments came as the House of Representatives prepared to debate a bill that would outlaw all abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy.
 
 
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Congressional portrait of Congressman Michael C Burgess.
Photo Credit: U.S. Congress/Wikimedia Commons

 
 
 
 

A Texas Congressman has come out in favor of an extreme abortion ban because, according to him, male fetuses masturbate.

RH Reality Check’s Adele Stan reports that Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) said that fetuses at 15-weeks “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?” Burgess is a former OB-GYN.

The comments came as the House of Representatives prepared to debate a bill that would outlaw all abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy. Burgess would like to see an even earlier abortion ban, at 15 weeks.

Stan reports that the scientific study underlying the GOP’s insistence that abortions should be banned because fetuses could feel pain at 20 weeks is disputed. “Major medical bodies in the United States and the United Kingdom have refuted the claim of fetal pain before the third trimester,” Stan writes.

If it passes, the abortion bill would challenge Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. While the bill has no chance of becoming law, it is meant to appease the Republican Party’s right-wing base.

 

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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