10 Most Absurd Things Conservatives Have Said About Sex Around Texas Abortion Battles
Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee February 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Perry announced Monday he will not seek re-election next year, while leaving open the prospect of launching a second presidential bid.
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The horrible battle over abortion in Texas, which most recently resulted in the legislature passing a bill that would close down 37 out of 42 clinics, has revealed to the nation just how serious conservatives are when they say they want to eradicate safe, legal abortion. It has also exposed, in a way that may even surpass the faux-pas-a-thon that was the 2012 campaign, how incredibly nutty Republicans are when it comes to their beliefs about women, sex and how reproduction works. Here’s just 10 of the most baffling statements to come out of right-wing mouths, inspired by the goings-on in Texas.
1) Rick Perry mansplains to women how they should feel about their own rights. State senator Wendy Davis, with assistance from pro-choice protesters, managed to shut down the first anti-abortion bill by conducting a filibuster that ran out the clock on the vote. In retaliation, Gov. Rick Perry put on his best “little ladies just don’t know their own minds” voice and explained that he knows better than Wendy Davis how Wendy Davis should think. After noting that Davis and her own mother were both teenage moms, Perry said, “It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example, that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.” The possibility that her own struggles might actually inform her belief that women need to have full reproductive autonomy didn’t even cross his condescending mind.
Perry also misunderstands the realities of abortion. His comment invoked a common anti-choice stereotype of the abortion-seeker as a young, naïve teenager who just doesn’t know any better. In reality, women in their 20s account for most abortions, and teens only make up 18% of total overall abortions. Most women who have abortions are also mothers, like Davis, so really, they know what they’re doing.
2) Peggy Noonan calls 50-year-old woman a “young woman.” Perry wasn’t the only anti-choicer trying to paint Davis as a silly, naïve child who doesn’t understand the issue of abortion. Peggy Noonan also went on TV and played as if she were a clucking grandmother talking about her adorable but wrong-headed teenage granddaughter, calling Davis a “young woman” who is “so spirited.” Davis is 50 years old, which makes her only 12 years younger than Noonan. Perhaps Noonan’s people become grandparents in junior high school, but it’s a safer bet to assume she was disingenuously trying to use ageist stereotypes to discredit pro-choicers.
3) Speaking out for women makes you a terrorist. Rounding out the “crazy statements about Wendy Davis” list comes this one from state representative Bill Zedler (R), who responded to Davis’s filibuster by saying, “We had terrorist in the Texas State Senate opposing SB5.”
His poor grammar does make one wonder if he meant “a terrorist”, i.e. Davis, or “terrorists,” plural, which would mean the involved citizens who had the nerve to show up and participate in their democracy by protesting this bill. Either way, he has it backwards. Only one side of the abortion debate regularly produces terrorists, and it’s not the pro-choice side.
4) They Roto-Rooter rape victims at the hospital, because that’s an appropriate way to treat a trauma victim. Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, who introduced the bill, denied that the ban on abortions after 20 weeks needed a rape exception. Her reasoning? Because they “clean you out” at the emergency room during your rape kit. No, really: “In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out.”
In reality, they do not stick any device up a woman's vagina to suck or clean anything out. It’s mostly about evidence collection, and in most cases, women should be offered a pill to prevent ovulation. Laubenberg’s comments suggest she thinks they perform some kind of emergency abortion right then and there, but as anyone who knows the basics of human biology should know, women don’t actually get pregnant in the hours or even days after a man ejaculated inside of them. You can’t abort, er, “clean out” a pregnancy that hasn’t started yet.