A North Texas lawmaker is in favor of a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation because he said he's seen male fetuses at that stage pleasure themselves.
U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess, a Republican representing Denton County and parts of Dallas and Tarrant counties, is a former OB/GYN. He supports a proposed GOP bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
During a recent House Rules Committee hearing he has gone as far as saying the bill should ban abortions 15 weeks after conception.
"There is no question in my mind that a baby at 20 weeks after conception can feel pain. The fact of the matter is I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15 weeks, 16 weeks," he said.
"Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful," Burgess said. "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?"
At least one medical expert has discredited the lawmaker's argument.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists President Jeanne Conry told U.S. News & World Report Burgess's comments are based on observation and emotion and not science. There is no data to assess whether a fetus at that stage feels pleasure or pain, she said.
The bill is scheduled for a House vote late Tuesday. It's not expected to get past the Senate and President Obama has threatened to veto it in support of a woman's right to choose.
KDFW FOX 4
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