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Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Image screen captured from a video of May 23rd’s House Panel hearing on a fetal Pain bill, courtesy of Think Progress.
Conservative states across the nation have been passing so-called fetal pain bills banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy on the false notion that fetuses can feel pain at that point of development. Unfortunately for the women who live in states with such laws, it is impossible to humanely abort a fetus that has an excruciatingly debilitating defect that will cause the fetus to die in womb or suffer painfully before dying shortly after birth.
Not only do these women have to suffer immense heartbreak watching their baby suffer at a hospital for most of its short and painful life, their families suffer financially as well. But none of that matters to Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert.
During a Thursday House panel hearing about H.R. 1797, a fetal pain bill being pushed at the federal level by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, Gohmert cruelly told a woman testifying against the bill that she should have been forced to carry her brain dead fetus to term and watch it die while her family suffered financially from the hospital bills.
According to ThinkProgress, Christy Zink told lawmakers her heartbreaking story of discovering that at 21 weeks, her fetus had absolutely no brain function and wouldn’t live long, if at all, outside the womb and would suffer painfully all of the time. Rather than watch her baby suffer, Zink made the decision to have an abortion, thereby sparing the fetus of suffering that would have been incurred due to the defect that couldn’t have been detected any earlier by doctors.
CHRISTY ZINK’S TESTIMONY:
“If this bill had been passed before my pregnancy, I would have had to carry to term and give birth to a baby whom the doctors concurred had no chance of a life and would have experienced near-constant pain. If he had survived the pregnancy — which was not certain — he might never have left the hospital. My daughter’s life, too, would have been irrevocably hurt by an almost always-absent parent.”
LOUIE GOHMERT’S RESPONSE:
“Ms. Zink, having my great sympathy and empathy both. I still come back wondering, shouldn’t we wait, like that couple did, and see if the child can survive before we decide to rip him apart? So. These are ethical issues, they’re moral issues, they’re difficult issues, and the parents should certainly be consulted. But it just seems like, it’s a more educated decision if the child is in front of you to make those decisions.”
Here’s the video:
There are at least three problems with Gohmert’s response. First, he is clearly and cruelly trying to shame Zink by accusing her or ripping her fetus apart. Just his use of those words is an outrage. Second, Gohmert says parents should be consulted, but only the government should make the decision of whether or not a fetus can be aborted. That’s an egregious example of government intrusion into our personal lives and medical decisions, which Republicans constantly and hypocritically say they oppose. Lastly, Gohmert says the decision to have an abortion should be made when “the child is in front of you.” In other words, AFTER the baby is born. So Gohmert wants women to wait until after giving birth to decide on an abortion? How does that make sense? The point of legal abortion is so that women have the option to terminate an unwanted pregnancy or a pregnancy that will result in death, pain, or suffering of the fetus or the woman. Terminating a baby after birth is known as murder. The Constitution guarantees that “all persons born” have rights not before.
Fetal pain bills are cruel. They are also unconstitutional and were written based on absurd and scientifically unsupported claims that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. In the past two months, two such laws in Idaho and Arizona have been struck down by the federal courts. Medical science has time and time again debunked the right-wing fetal pain theory. Fetuses actually do not have the capacity to feel pain until the third trimester because they lack the connections in the brain that are necessary to send pain signals. That’s science as opposed to the desperate theories concocted by anti-abortion fanatics in their quest to subjugate women and destroy personal privacy.
Republicans have zero compassion for the women and families they are seeking to harm. They would rather see a fetus be born, suffer, and die in excruciating pain at a severe emotional and financial cost to the mother rather than allow women to make the heartbreaking but humane choice to terminate the pregnancy. The GOP is full of cruel and heartless human beings, if you can call them human beings at all, and people are devoid of hearts and compassion do not belong in government.