Republican Congressman Opposes Abortion Partly Because Male Fetuses Play With Their Genitals

| Tue Jun. 18, 2013 10:24 AM PDT

Well, okay then.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) US Congress

On Monday night, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) contended that HR 1797—a bill the House is debating on Tuesday that would outlaw almost all abortions 20 weeks post fertilization—didn't go far enough. Burgess, an Ob/Gyn by trade and all-around tea partier, argued passionately in favor of banning abortions at an earlier stage in pregnancy. Here's a snippet of what he said, via RH Reality Check:

There's no question in my mind...that a baby at 20 weeks after conception can feel pain...I thought the date was far too late...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. They feel pleasure. Why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?

("Well, this is a subject that I do know something about," Burgess also asserted.)

Top medical experts in the US and UK dispute the Republicans' claim of fetal pain prior to the third trimester—the talking point at the heart of the proposed ban. But the part that caught the internet's attention was Burgess' odd "masturbating fetuses" logic. I've reached out to Rep. Burgess' office regarding his statements but I have not yet received a response.

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