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Alabama GOP Rep.: Heavily Regulate Abortion Clinics Because Fetus Is ‘Largest Organ’ In Woman’s Body

An Alabama GOP legislator gave a somewhat confusing justification for supporting legislation that critics say would effectively restrict a woman’s access to abortion clinics within the state, claiming that the fetus is the largest internal organ in a woman’s body.

The bill at hand, known as HB 57, requires that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Critics point out that this would reduce access to the clinics because most local hospitals see the practice as “murder.” Other regulations would require clinics to follow strict building codes; and nurses, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants would be charged with a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for dispensing abortion-inducing medications to patients.

When asked by the Montgomery Advertiser why she seeks to impose these strict new regulations on abortion clinics, Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R-Pelham) said it’s because:

“When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body. 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.”

BuzzFeed points out that McClurkin’s claim is technically inaccurate, as the fetus isn’t an organ; even if it were, the human liver is considered the largest internal organ, averaging around 22.5 cm wide. That’s not to mention the small intestines, which unfurl to an average length of around 23 feet; or the large intestine which typically measures 5 to 6 feet. Of course, the largest human organ — external or internal — is actually the skin.

Huffington Post writer Amanda Terkel argues that McClurkin’s “fetus-as-organ” logic actually undermines her “personhood” argument for the fetus:

McClurkin’s argument actually undermines the “personhood” bills being pushed around the country by other like-minded Republican lawmakers. Those pieces of legislation argue that undeveloped zygotes are people too and should therefore be given full legal rights, thus making abortion — and even certain forms of birth control — illegal.

[h/t BuzzFeed]

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