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Pretend you're a state legislature, and you really REALLY want to make it so ladies don't do abortions, even though that is a thing that is still legal in U.S. Jesus America. You have lots of options! You could try to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, which 10 states and Congress are trying to do. You could ban all abortions at some other gestational point, which 32 states are working on. You could try to scare ladies away from having an abortion by offering information that is not necessarily even accurate about fetal pain, as 12 states do. Or you could get really creative, like in Montana!


Rather than just proposing all those old-fashioned kinds of 20-week bans, a Montana House Committee is taking up H.B. 479, the Montana Unborn Child Pain and Suffering Prevention Act, which would require mandatory fetal anesthesia prior to an abortion at 20 weeks or later. (West Virginia Republicans introduced a similar bill in January, requiring anesthesia at 7 weeks.)

What's so wrong with requiring a pregnant woman to have anesthesia administered to the fetus she's aborting, whether she wants it or not? Well, for one thing, it is based on the scientifically incorrect assertion that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. For another thing, the health effects of fetal anesthesia on pregnant ladies are unknown. But pregnant ladies would probably be fine with their bodies being used as a science experiment, right?

The Montana bill's sponsor, state Rep. Albert Olszewski, is another one of those magical Republican lawmakers who just knows things about ladies' bodies. He is an orthopedic surgeon, and he has probably treated lady patients, ergo, he has a nuanced understanding of the female reproductive system and doesn't need to pay any attention to the findings of actual ladyhealth doctors who have studied this subject. In response to a question about whether and at what point fetal pain would even be possible, Olszewski said:

Based on the scientific research accomplished and published over the last three decades, the answer to this question is when the unborn child is 20 weeks gestation or older.

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Rep. Olszewski, you are an orthopedic surgeon, not a prenatal specialist or an anesthesiologist, and the American Medical Association says you are wrong. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, via Salon):

Evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester [or 27 weeks]. Little or no evidence addresses the effectiveness of direct fetal anesthetic or analgesic techniques. Similarly, limited or no data exist on the safety of such techniques for pregnant women in the context of abortion. Anesthetic techniques currently used during fetal surgery are not directly applicable to abortion procedures.

No data on whether it would harm the pregnant lady? Haha, like SHE matters -- she's just a vessel. Elizabeth Nash, Senior State Issues Associate at the Guttmacher Institute, told Wonkette Tuesday:

[T]he bill is based on unsubstantiated evidence about fetal development and would add a new layer of unnecessary risk to the woman’s health and of course add substantially to the cost of the abortion, which in turn would make it much harder for a woman to access to abortions at 20 weeks postfertilization and later.

This legislation is a sneaky way to dramatically limit abortion access, because obviously reproductive health clinics don't have fetal anesthesiologists on staff.

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Both the Montana and West Virginia fetal anesthesia legislation contain another horrible surprise for pregnant ladies who seek a late-term abortion. The bills include a medical emergency exemption that would override the fetal anesthesia requirement in certain circumstances, but the definition of "medical emergency" specifically excludes the risk of suicide. The Montana bill states:

[A] condition does not constitute a medical emergency if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the pregnant woman will engage in conduct that will result in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function or the woman's death.

How awesome. So the legislators have just enough compassion to exempt women with medical emergencies from their unnecessary mandatory possibly harmful science experiment, but suicidal ladies don't count? Is this supposed to be one of those "pro-life" bills that's all about caring for the mothers, or the unborn babies -- or just another underhanded attempt to chip away at the (still legal!) right to an abortion by making it as difficult as possible for women to actually do that? Yes, that's a rhetorical question. No need to answer.

[Raw Story/Salon/Slate/image via prochoiceMontana]

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

Money us, PLEASE! Throw a tip in the jar, or click here to keep your Wonkette snarking forever.

[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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