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Do Texas legislators have some kind of bet on who says the dumbest thing?

I have to ask, because a Texas Republican has just argued that abortion needs to be banned because fetuses are masturbating.

As the House of Representatives gears up for Tuesday’s debate on HR 1797, a bill that would outlaw virtually all abortions 20 weeks post fertilization, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued in favor of banning abortions even earlier in pregnancy because, he said, male fetuses that age were already, shall we say, spanking the monkey.

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. “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 believe that they could feel pain?”

Hey, I watch embryonic zebrafish do all kinds of flips and kicks at an age before any of the descending motor outputs have grown into the spinal cord. Motor activity is simply not a necessary indicator of cognition.

But also, I think the good Christians of Texas ought to regard this as an argument for abortion — the sinful little self-polluters must be punished!

Comments

  1. ChasCPeterson says

    Motor activity is simply not a necessary indicator of cognition.

    You miss the point.
    Motor activity is an indicator of orgasm.

    (or, it’s possible that it’s me missing the point.)

    (or, it’s possible that I’m only pretending to miss the point.)

    (what is the point?)

  2. Dick the Damned says

    And the female fetuses don’t do that, eh? Sure, i guess not in Michael Burgess’ ideal Texas.

    What a clown!

  3. kevinalexander says

    Motor activity is simply not a necessary indicator of cognition.

    Quite so. There are any number of Texans motoring about with no evidence of cognition.

  4. says

    And meanwhile, in the Burgess house…

    Mrs B: “Darling, come quick, the baby’s moving.”
    Mr B, placing his hand on Mrs. B’s stomach: “Aww, he’s bashin’ off a good one, for sure.”
    Mrs B: “Yep, he’s a wanker all-right. A real chip off the old block and no mistake.”

  5. azpaul3 says

    … the sinful little self-polluters must be punished!

    So this is the “original sin” christians keep going on about. I could never figure that out.

  6. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Do they have a bet? Of course they do. They’re betting that the one who wins the race to the bottom gets re-elected.

  7. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    So .. masturbation equals the mere act of putting a hand between the legs? (Which of course only boys could / actually do! /sarcasm.) I don’t think so.

  8. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ 8. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) : Surely they hit bottom a long time ago and have since dug down into the upper mantle or below?

    Also if hand between legs equal masturbation does that explain why some people have their hands on their laps during Church sermons -something to do to allievaite the boredom maybe?

  9. microraptor says

    I think this guy ought to be given some credit.

    After all, it’s hard to find something that’s dumb enough of a statement that it leaves the board of the CFI looking good by comparison anymore.

  10. anuran says

    It appeals to the Texas electorate and wins elections in Herp-a-derpistan. Does that make it “dumb” or just effective politics?

  11. coffeehound says

    If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs.

    WTF? They don’t have this detailed purposeful motor control as newborns, how the fuck do they have it at 20 weeks? They don’t localize(reach out for movement to a localized stimulus), as I recall after 6 mos of age.They have those reflexes that would serve most primates in infancy, rooting, sucking,etc, but purposeful reaching? Is he actually proposing that they lose this before birth?The dipshit should be slapped with his excuse for a medical degree.

  12. anuran says

    (Yes, of course the pronouncements are vile and evil and insane. The policies are even worse. Just saying they eat it up down there, and anyone who supported policies which most FtB would agree with would never get elected down there)

  13. anubisprime says

    More fool the feckin’ idiots that believe the ravings of a semi-sentient deluded cockroach and what is more voted to put the vermin in power.

    If that is the best argument that an ex-OB/GYN..(thank Odin) can dredge out of his mush of a damaged brain then they really are screwed.

    That these retarded folk are allowed to spout such utter gibberish is one thing, but to give them the responsibility of authority is far more cretinous.
    No wonder they all nod sagely to fairy stories, cos the stories get no more banal and insipid then a jeebus trooper trying to impress with a completely insane bum burp.

    Seems to be the more dumb and smelly the codswollop the easier it is to accept without thinking and the more popular it is.
    Something is really wrong in the basic education system down south, its level is apparently not much above crèche care or first year playground claims behind the bike shed, and it has been that way for far to long.

  14. stever says

    I recently saw the unspoken reason for “pro life” fervor: fetuses can’t suffer like newborns and children. The Cult of the Cross is all about suffering. A fetus never gets hungry or thirsty or cold. Furthermore, a fetus that gets aborted can’t abort its mother’s education, or drive a family that’s barely getting along right over the edge. The anti-abortion camp may whine about fetal pain, but it’s a smokescreen. Their true goal is to increase the amount of misery in the world.

  15. francesc says

    1.- Females don’t masturbate because they can’t have pleasure with sex. That was settled in the bible millenia ago.
    2.- If female fetuses don’t masturbate, can they be aborted?
    3.- I pity him. If his hand going between his legs is all it takes for Michael to have an orgasm, I can only imagine how difficult for him has been seeing all those vaginas as a professional withouth reacting improperly

  16. rogerfirth says

    They’re betting that the one who wins the race to the bottom gets re-elected.

    Sadly, I think you’re right.

    Republican politics of late, at all levels of local, state, and federal government, has been a race among the crazies to see who can outcrazy the rest. If a candidate isn’t “conservative” enough, he or she gets primaried. We saw this in several congressional races, where a solidly and historically republican seat went to the democrat because the right wing nutbags forced an unelectable right wing nutbag into the republican nomination, and a mediocre democrat won.

    This has gotten worse since the 2012 elections. *This* is the zombie apocalypse. And it will keep getting worse until the nutbaggers are dealt devastating blows in every election. The republicans need to lose *big time*, in every race, otherwise they’re going to keep coming.

  17. Holms says

    And the female fetuses don’t do that, eh? Sure, i guess not in Michael Burgess’ ideal Texas.

    Correct. Remember, wimminz don’t have any sexuality whatsoever except as determined by their owner / husband.

    ^ Conservative minset.

  18. Acolyte of Sagan says

    So when a pregnant woman clutches her stomach and says that she thinks the baby’s coming, she’s not neccessarily talking about being in labour?

  19. carlie says

    But masturbation is a sin! So isn’t abortion a good way to keep them pure and holy for god?

  20. says

    Masturbating fetuses? Well that would explain all of the god-wraith produced tornados in the wombs of American women.

  21. says

    coffeehound:

    They don’t localize(reach out for movement to a localized stimulus), as I recall after 6 mos of age.

    You’re on the right track, but purposefully reaching out occurs much younger than 6 months (usually by the half year point, little ones are reaching, grabbing, and stuffing everything hey can get their sticky hands on into their mouths). My Darkbaby, for instance, was reaching up to dangling toys and people at around three months* (I think, it’s been a hell of a long 8 months). She had no fine motor skills to grab them or manipulate them at first, but the “I see this, I want this” intent was there.

    But, yeah. You’re totally right that newborns can’t really do anything besides flail their limbs and reflexively react to stimuli. And fetuses have even less ability.

    Anyway. How much would anyone like to bet that this Texan asshole is pro- death penalty, even though those on death row are able to feel pleasure and pain? (Well, it is Texas. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they executed someone in a coma or a catatonic state.)

    *That’s why there’s so many newborn toys that are meant to dangle in front of the baby. It’s great fun to try and snatch something out of reach when you’re like 4 months old.

  22. Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu says

    This asshole used to be my rep. I emailed him a pro-abortion letter as part of a PP campaign.
    His form response summed up to, “I am an Ob/Gyn, I am male, I know better than you what is good for you.”

    Wish I still had that email but Yahoo’s records don’t go that far back.

  23. kevinalexander says

    I’m not a biologist but I thought that movement was necessary to shape the joints. You don’t get that nice smooth ball joint without rolling the two halves in utero.

  24. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Oh sure, when I do it, it’s a sin, but when a fetus does it…

  25. w00dview says

    It always amazes me that when you put Texas and Republican together you get this batshittery all the time. I mean your average Republican is a greedy, authoritarian, theocratic, bigoted sociopath but Texas Republicans are truly in a league of their own. They are the true wingnuts that all other Republicans aspire to. I mean banning abortion because fetuses can jerk off? You just can’t parody these types anymore.

  26. Larry says

    Its times like this that I really miss Molly Ivins. She had her finger on the pulse of Texas politicians like this clown.

  27. Louis says

    Okay, let me think through this (massive sleep deprivation, so it might not be stellar):

    This Burgess chap from Texas says you can see foetuses masturbating on sonogram videos. Therefore this means this Burgess chap has watched foetuses masturbating on sonogram videos. Foetuses are under the age of consent in any state in the USA. Therefore this Burgess chap has been watching under age of consent people masturbating on sonogram videos. Therefore these sonogram videos are child porn and this chap Burgess should be locked up as a paedophile and enabler of child sexual abuse.

    Seems as sound as any of these blighters’ arguments to me.

    Arrest that monster!

    Louis

  28. schism says

    They’re betting that the one who wins the race to the bottom gets re-elected.

    Elected as governor, maybe. Burgess has never had trouble with re-elections to state rep. Then again, Governor Goodhair is a solid contender in the Stupid Run too.

  29. David Marjanović says

    the god-wraith produced tornados in the wombs of American women

    LOL in meatspace.

  30. says

    Motor activity is simply not a necessary indicator of cognition.

    It is, however, the only qualification one needs to become a Republican legislator, so I can understand the confusion.

  31. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Anuran #13

    It appeals to the Texas electorate and wins elections in Herp-a-derpistan. Does that make it “dumb” or just effective politics?

    Can’t it be both?