The human brain weighs, on average, about three pounds. Your skin weighs about six pounds. At twenty weeks, a fetus weighs about 10.5 ounces, or a little over half a pound. However, 88% of all abortions in America occur in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. At twelve weeks, the typical fetus weighs one half of one ounce, the same amount as two quarters and a nickel. Your skin, or epidermis, is the largest organ in your body, which will only be outweighed by the typical fetus in the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy, or roughly two weeks before a women’s due date. I mention all of this because of the following quote from Alabama state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin, (R-Pelham):

“When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body,” McClurkin said in an interview Thursday. “That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.”

She made that remark as part of a defense of her bill, HB57, which “would require physicians at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals; require clinics to follow ambulatory clinic building codes and make it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for a nurse, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to dispense abortion-inducing medications.”

First of all, while the placenta is considered an organ, the fetus is a developing mammal. An embryo is generally considered to have become a fetus during the ninth week of pregnancy, when it weighs eight grams, or a little more than a quarter of an ounce. Second, if we are judging things by weight, the fetus only outweighs the epidermis in the last two weeks of pregnancy when a Caesarean section would be normal procedure for ending a problematic pregnancy. A common cause for a Caesarean section in the 37th or 38th week is a problem with the fetal heartbeat. Extreme high blood pressure that could cause an eclamptic seizure might cause an actual abortion in the 37th week because the mother could bleed to death if cut open.

In other words, Rep. McClurkin is wrong on the science; her comment doesn’t even make sense. Her bill doesn’t restrict itself to addressing late term abortions when the fetus actually does outweigh the heaviest organ in your body. Abortions aren’t performed that late anyway, unless the mother is in the process of dying. There are five abortion clinics in Alabama (which is four more than exist in neighboring Mississippi), and McClurkin’s bill is an effort to drive those clinics out of business. This is attempted in two main ways. First, it requires that doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals, but the hospitals are not required to grant that privilege and, in fact, none were willing to do so in Mississippi when a similar bill was passed. Second, it requires that clinics meet the same regulatory standards as hospitals which is as expensive as it is unnecessary. It’s a two-prong approach that is being attempted in many states throughout the country.

Obviously, I oppose these efforts because they endanger women’s health and take away their freedom of choice. But I just wanted to point out that Alabama state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin is evil and stupid.

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