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Top 5 Bonehead Quotes of 2013: Texas Reproductive Rights Edition

December 20, 2013

It was a dismal year for women’s health in Texas— the state legislature passed a sweeping package of some of the most restrictive reproductive health laws in the country, including a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, regulations on abortion medication and rules that creates hurdles for abortion physicians and clinics. While an ongoing court challenge waged by health advocates hopes to block part of the law, it couldn’t be stopped in the interim and went into effect in November. Abortion clinics and patients are already feeling the law’s painful impact.

With little to no scientific evidence to back up their claims, bill authors adamantly defended the restrictions as a way to improve women’s safety during the controversial debate at the Capitol this summer. The same legislators simultaneously vocalized their vehement anti-abortion stance, bringing into question their true intentions.

We rounded up some of the most jaw-dropping statements from the mouths of your elected officials who, either authored, sponsored or supported the latest Texas abortion law— don’t be surprised if they have you asking how the @#$! are these the people in charge of legislating women’s health?

State Sen. Dan Patrick Campaign Web Site

Via State Sen. Dan Patrick Campaign Web Site

5. We talked about the choice, you ask us, well don’t we put ourselves in the place of the woman and her choice, what choice does the baby have? Who speaks for the baby? Do you think if the mother had a conversation with the baby and said, ‘you know, this just isn’t really convenient to give birth to you right now, do you mind dying?’ – State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) on the Senate floor lobbying for the Texas abortion law (Dan Patrick Has God on His Side, According to Dan Patrick, Texas Observer, July 16, 2013)

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  • John Liebowitz

    “Restrictive” in relation to the pregnant woman is “protective” in relation to the unborn human being.

  • Caroline

    “Restrictive” in relation to the pregnant women is also “harmful” in relation to the pregnant women (and to all women’s rights as autonomous LIVING persons), and it certainly does not invariably correspond to “protection” in relation to the unborn fetus (“unborn human being” is a contradictory and illogical phrase. According to 1 U.S. CODE § 8, ” In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. If a fetus is unborn it is, by definition, not a human being). In general, unplanned pregnancies are associated with significantly worse birth outcomes (i.e., higher rates of birth defects, preterm birth, low birthweight, and other fetal and infant complications) as well as poorer child, adolescent, and long-term outcomes (i.e., increased risk of developmental problems, health conditions, mental disorders, substance use, criminal behavior, social problems, etc.). For women with unwanted pregnancies, these consequences are even further intensified. And for women with unwanted pregnancies who sought to terminate their pregnancy but were not able to, the outcomes for mother and child are horrendous. How you could see this as “protective” is incomprehensible and unjustifiable.

    The idea that a fetus is a person is inconsistent with medical evidence and legal standards, and the implications are far greater than you have likely even begun to consider. For example, giving a fetus personhood rights would make many components of standard prenatal care and fetal medicine unethical and potentially illegal (after all, a person must consent to have any medical procedure performed; unless you know of a way to gain consent from a fetus, then forget about life saving fetal interventions and preventive practices like amniocentesis, cesarean sections, fetal echocardiograms, fetal blood transfusions, fetal shunt surgery, or any other in utero procedures), placing millions of women and fetuses at risk. If you want to do something “protective” for the fetus, this is about the most counterproductive argument you could make. You are, of course, free to have your own personal perspective on the issue, but don’t be shocked when those of us in the medical field, or others in the legal system, don’t use your opinion to inform our evidence based guidelines.