Mississippi GOP Gov. Has Some Real Wild Ideas About Human Gestation Periods

Mississippi GOP Gov. Has Some Real Wild Ideas About Human Gestation Periods

On Sunday, Mississippi GOP Governor Tate Reeves appeared on Jake Tapper's "State of The Union" to discuss his hopes and dreams for his state's law banning abortion after 15 weeks. It should come as no surprise that his hope is that it will lead to the overturning or at least the erosion of Roe v. Wade. But what Reeves wanted to make most clear to Tapper and to CNN audience was that he wanted it overturned not just because of his personal beliefs about abortion, but because he believes the science has changed, therefore the law must keep up with that.

Here, however, appears to be Governor Reeves's best guess on what "the science" says. It is very different from what "the science" actually says.

He said:

REEVES: For people such as myself that are pro-life, I believe that the Supreme Court made a mistake in the 1970s. But that's not the issue at stake that is before the court, hopefully when the arguments are heard sometime in the fall.

The question that is before the court, and this is something you mentioned earlier, and that's with respect to understanding and appreciating and respecting science.

The fact is, we know so much more in America today about the formation of young children in the womb than we did when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. We know so much more even than we knew when Casey was decided in 1992, that was 30 years ago. It is not unusual for the court to review cases from the past. And what we know now, Jake, is that we know that the heart has partially formed at 15 weeks. We know that the baby in the womb is practicing breathing. We know that most internal organs have started to form and we believe that child is viable outside the womb.

As it turns out, "we" know exactly none of those things, because Tate Reeves just made them all up as he went along.

The heart is not "partially formed" at 15 weeks. The "heartbeat" that anti-choice zealots like to talk about is fetal pole cardiac activity. "The science" Reeves is so keen on respecting actually says there is "little organization of human heart cells until 20 weeks of pregnancy."

Fetuses are also not practicing breathing at 15 weeks. The lungs are in fact one of the last organs to fully develop, usually around 37 weeks. The fetus does not "practice" breathing until the third trimester.

The biggest pile of bullshit here, however, is believing a human fetus is viable outside the womb at 15 weeks, when the most premature baby to ever survive was born at 21 weeks and five days. Perhaps he is thinking of chinchillas. Or tigers. Or some other animal with a much shorter gestational period than humans.

Sadly, Tapper did not question him on any of this. Just sort of let it hang there, unchallenged. Instead, he switched the conversation over to how the law included no exceptions for rape or incest, and asked Reeves what he would say to a child pregnant by their father or uncle. Granted, this is certainly the more dramatic approach, but only if you think anti-choicers actually care about that.

Reeves responded by saying "I'm not telling any child in Mississippi anything," which, to be fair, is probably true. Were such a child anywhere around him, he would likely just ignore them just like he ignores facts about gestational development.

Then he just went on about how he thinks abortion is murder and how very, very much the state of Mississippi cares about babies and human life.

REEVES: What I'm telling everyone is we believe that abortions are murdering literally millions and millions and millions of Americans across many, many years and it's a sad, sad state of affairs and we're going to work very hard to make sure that when that baby becomes viable that it is treated as a human life because that is exactly what it is.

Mississippi, for the record, has the worst health care system and the highest infant mortality rate in the entire country.


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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