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Fetuses are not in your food

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, January 26, 2012 16:12 EDT
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This is why I hate, absolutely hate Dana Milbank-style “both sides do it!” false equivalence when applied to the reproductive rights debate. One side believes full access to contraception and safe abortion is a basic human right and good public health policy. The other side is concerned that human fetuses are in your food. Yes, you read that correctly, but in case you’re still reeling from the sheer paranoid stupidity of it all, here is NPR totally confirming the story:

A bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature has some folks scratching their heads, as it prohibits “the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses.”

Since the bill was introduced late last week by State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican from Oklahoma City, corners of the Internet have been buzzing with the news, as people try to figure out two things: 1) is this real; and 2) is there any reason the bill might be needed?

1) Yes. This guy really did introduce this bill. 2) No, and how stupid do you have to be?

Shortey is now in full blown wingnut deflection mode, giving weird and obtuse answers when asked about why he wrote this bill. But I have no doubt that he literally thinks fetuses are going into food. Anti-choicers have a lot of weird theories about what abortion providers do with the fetuses they remove. The answer, in the real world, is they dispose of it like you do all biowaste removed during surgeries. In most abortions, the embryo is just a teeny portion of everything removed during the procedure, after all. But there’s a ton of lurid urban legends in Christian right circles about fetus-eating, and claims that abortion providers keep fetuses in their refrigerator in order to eat them, I suppose on their lunch break or something. It’s a little hard to understand how people can be so delusional, but you have to remember, these are people who believe in angels and demon possession and that Tim Tebow is blessed by god. They have a lot of practice believing impossible things. 

Beyond the obvious, here is why this paranoia is so ridiculous: 88% of abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. 61% are done in the first 9 weeks. Here is the Web MD description of a fetus at 12 weeks:

The fetus now measures about 2.5 inches from crown to rump and weighs between three-tenths of an ounce and half an ounce.

Let’s face it: it would take a lot of fetuses to get even your bare minimum of protein requirements in a day. An adult man needs about 2 ounces of protein a day, so you’d need something like 4-6 abortions per day to reach just that. It’s not something the fast food industry could really rely on. Mathematically, it’s implausible, and of course, real world-style, it’s just ridiculous to believe this. 

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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