GOP Lawmaker Trying to Ban Abortion Cites Veterinary Expertise: ‘I Did Thousands of Ultrasounds on Animals’

“I think I know mammalian fetal development better than...anyone here," Wisconsin state Rep. Joel Kitchens (R) said while supporting a proposed 14-week ban.

GOP Lawmaker Trying to Ban Abortion Cites Veterinary Expertise: ‘I Did Thousands of Ultrasounds on Animals’

Wisconsin Republicans have kicked off 2024 by introducing a 14-week abortion ban, which is already an extremely weird bill if for no other reason than 14 weeks—on top of being terrible and extreme—is a random and entirely arbitrary timeline. And on Thursday, Republicans managed to make the bill even weirder when Rep. Joel Kitchens (R) cited his expertise as a veterinarian as incontrovertible proof that fetuses are fully formed humans:

“The question is whether abortion is health care. And if you believe a fetus is a human life, then abortion is not health care. In my veterinarian career, I did thousands of ultrasounds on animals, determining pregnancy and that kind of thing. So I think I know mammalian fetal development better than probably anyone here. And in my mind, there’s absolutely no question that’s a life. I think the science backs me up on that.”

In a clip shared by Heartland Signal, Kitchens goes on to cede that “not everybody that’s in here is going to agree with me,” then randomly invokes Abraham Lincoln: “If I had the oratorical skills of Lincoln, I still wouldn’t change a single mind over there.” His remarks are a regular conservative Bingo board: a comparison of women and pregnant people to literal animals, a reference to Honest Abe, and the assurance that “science backs me up” without offering up a shred of evidence.

Republicans have continued making some deeply bizarre arguments for abortion bans—in Wisconsin alone, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in 2022 called on all Wisconsin voters to stare at fetuses in jars, and then see if they could still support abortion. Anti-abortion lawmakers across the country have blamed the Roe v. Wade decision for limiting the “supply” of workers whose labor could fund social security. But “I’m a veterinarian and have seen animal ultrasounds” is certainly a new one—and a pretty landmark argument in terms of proving just how severely anti-abortion lawmakers have lost the plot.

Sure, the overturning of Roe forced a 10-year-old rape victim to travel out-of-state for abortion, and, sure, over a dozen women are suing Texas for torturing and endangering their lives by denying them emergency abortion care. But look at this Cocker Spaniel’s ultrasound taken in Rep. Kitchens’ veterinarian clinic, you guys!!

Shortly after Kitchens’ remarks, the Wisconsin state Assembly passed the 14-week abortion ban 53-46 (10 Republicans voted against it.) If the bill is ultimately successful, it would trigger a referendum in which voters would vote yes or no for the 14-week ban. But it’s questionable whether the bill will even pass Wisconsin’s Republican-majority state Senate, as Senate Republican Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said earlier this month that he’s unsure his caucus will unite around a bill like this when Gov. Tony Evers (D) has already made clear he’d veto it. All of this comes after an abortion trigger ban took effect in Wisconsin in 2022, only for a court to allow health care providers to resume providing abortion services last summer. Surely this is all very disappointing to Kitchens, but if it’s any consolation, he can at least decline to provide abortion services to his animal patients.

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