Martin Bashir
updated 6/19/2013 2:18:27 AM ET 2013-06-19T06:18:27

Republican Congressman Michael Burgess of Texas, a former OB/GYN, said that male fetuses can feel pleasure in the womb when they masturbate and can therefore also feel pain.

Thanks to Texas Congressman Michael Burgess, you can now add “fetal masturbation” as another conservative reason to ban abortion.

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movement that are purposeful,” Burgess said in a House committee debate Monday, citing his experience as an OB/GYN and the “thousands of pregnancies” he oversaw during his career. ”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? Sometimes we have to give voice to the voiceless, and this is one of those times.”

Burgess also argued the proposed bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy was not restrictive enough, and that the date should be set earlier at 15 or 16 weeks.

As Congress prepares Tuesday to vote on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, conservatives are pushing hard to maintain momentum for the measure. “This is a time for the pro-life movement like we have not had in decades. We must seize the moment,” former congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave said last week at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference.

House Speaker John Boehner defended the bill after criticism over the GOP’s priorities, saying that while jobs are Republicans’s “number one concern,” there were still other issues to deal with. “After the Kermit Gosnell case—the publicity it received, I think the legislation is appropriate.”


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