As anyone who’s been paying the least amount of attention to social issues through the prism of politics knows, 2013 was a pretty crucial year for women’s reproductive rights.
Just before this summer, 43 abortion restrictions had been passed into law in various states. By August, more than 300 abortion restrictions had been introduced by lawmakers.
Aside from the horrific nature of this assault on women’s rights, we had a unique glimpse into the minds of the people who dream up this kind of legislation — all thanks to certain GOP politicians opening up their mouths.
We’ve compiled a few of the worst things said about women by TEApublicans in 2013 in the list below:
6. Rape exceptions for abortions aren’t necessary because pregnancies resulting from rape are rare.
Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks was the “brains” behind what was probably the most high-profile abortion restriction this year: a bill to ban all abortions in the U.S. at 20 weeks after conception. “The incidence of pregnancy resulting from rape are very low,” he claimed.
5. The ‘masturbating fetus.’
Yes, this really happened. While defending Franks’ 20-week abortion ban, Texas GOP-er Michael Burgess used a rather bizarre argument to claim that fetuses could feel pain at 20 weeks after conception, despite medical evidence to the contrary. “Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” he said. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. They feel pleasure. Why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?”
4. Having an abortion after rape is tampering with criminal evidence.
New Mexico GOP Rep. Cathrynn Brown caused a stir when she introduced a bill that defined aborting a pregnancy that resulted from rape as criminal evidence tampering — that should result in a 3-year prison sentence. The bill said that “procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.”
3. Rape of an underage victim is understandable if a woman seems more mature than her age.
Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh received a huge backlash when he sentenced 54 year-old teacher Stacey Rambold to only 30 days in prison — after he was convicted of raping his 14-year-old student, Cherise Moralez. Justifying his sentence, Baugh said that the victim was “as much in control of the situation” because she was “older than her chronological age.” Moralez committed suicide during Rambold’s trial.
2. Transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions are a good idea.
Anti-abortion politicians in the Indiana Legislature pushed a bill that would force women who wanted to use an abortion pill to undergo two medically unnecessary ultrasounds — one before taking the pill, and one after. Responding to the backlash, Indiana Right to Life’s Sue Swayze said, “I got pregnant vaginally. Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me. So I find that argument a little ridiculous.”
1. One disgusting term: Rape insurance.
We saw a lot of bills that banned Obamacare from covering abortions this year. Nearly half of all statehouses pushed through some type of measure forcing women to purchase abortion coverage as a separate abortion-only policy, called a “rider.” Some of these laws did not include exceptions allowing insurance to cover abortions in the cases of rape or incest. Michigan’s Right to Life’s Barbara Listing didn’t see any problem with this: “It’s simply, like, nobody plans to have an accident in a car accident, nobody plans to have their homes flooded. You have to buy extra insurance for those.”
Despite the outrage from her comment, the bill was passed anyway.