Embryo Fetishism

Baby Bop

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Memo to Michael Burgess, Michael Burgess, and LifeNews: YOU ARE DUMB.

I think we all knew this was vital, necessary, and important. When it comes to IDIOTS SAYING THE DAMNDEST THINGS, there really is only one contender. Definitely the quote of the week. Probably the quote of the year. Possibly the quote of the decade. Ladies and gentlemen, proof that I don't call the pro-life movement "embryo fetishists" for nothing.

"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 think that they could feel pain?" - Texas congressman Michael Burgess, explaining why he supports the 20-week abortion ban just passed by the House.

Ick.

Also, ick.

Upon further reflection, ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK.

There are two problems with Burgess' statement, one obvious, one less so. The obvious one is that Michael Burgess looks at ultrasounds and sees masturbating fetuses. How fucked up do you have to be to do that? How fucked up beyond that do you have to be to use it as a basis for public policy?

And, come to think of it, can Burgess be brought up on child pornography charges? Can that argument be used to stop the parade of mandatory, medically unnecessary ultrasounds adopted by state after state?

And now, the less than obvious problem. "If they're a male baby"? Is Michael Burgess implying that only men feel pleasure when they put their hands between their legs? Because I don't know which Internet Michael Burgess uses, but if mine is right, not only does that work for women, they're doing it nearly constantly from, I'm repeatedly assured, the moment they turn 18.

"Any media reports on masturbation by fetuses can almost exclusively be traced back to a single letter written by two OB/GYNs in Italy in 1996 and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. - Elizabeth Flock, US News and World Report.

See, Michael Burgess is an OB/GYN. So, you know. Good luck sleeping soundly tonight, ladies! So he probably saw this letter, or a reference to it, by a couple of Italians nearly 20 years ago, and built an ideology, and probably a bunch of creepy fantasies, around it.

But it gets better. The fetus the two Italians allegedly documented masturbating at a creepy level of detail? Once? It was female. Which makes my second point above even more pertinent, because the internal mental processes that led Burgess to gender-swap the imaginary fetuses based on their behavior are a beautiful thing to contemplate.

"The comment is drawing attacks from abortion advocates — who normally promote sex at every turn." - Steven Ertelt of LifeNews, defending Burgess' "scientifically accurate" claims.

Of course, the sum total of "proof" Ertelt cites is that same 1996 letter. Now, I know that science and the pro-life movement do not go hand in hand, but a letter printed by two doctors that say they saw a fetus masturbating is not data. It's a single observation. And while the letter isn't available online, I have it on good authority that it starts out by saying "Dear Penthouse. I never thought I'd be writing to you..."

Another defender, Matt Archbold at the National Catholic Register, claims that those mocking Burgess are monsters. Not, you know, forcing a woman to give birth to a rape-baby monsters, mind, but if society's collective mockery of a fetal jerk-off fetishist means we've strayed off the path, then the path was stupid and we're better off for it.

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