It is no secret that Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) publicly opposes abortion. The GOP congressman, who is also an OB/GYN, made his position on the abortion debate clear during his time on a U.S. House Committee floor Monday by saying that he supports the proposed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks nationwide.

Yet, during his speech to fellow lawmakers, Burgess asserted something very peculiar concerning the need for the proposed abortion ban: he has witnessed male fetuses pleasure themselves in the womb as early as 15 weeks after conception.

“This is a subject that I do know something about,” Burgess said to the U.S. House Committee. “There is no question in my mind that a baby at 20 weeks after conception can feel pain. The fact of the matter is, I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15-weeks, 16-weeks.”

“You watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful.” Burgess continued. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. They feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?”

Burgess then used fetus masturbation as his pushing point for abortions to be banned at an even earlier point in pregnancies as he stated that the fetus can feel both pleasure and pain at this point in the gestation. However, Burgess’ argument is inconsistent with others in his field, and the president of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Jeanne Conry, refutes Burgess’ assertion that the fetus responds to such stimuli.

“We certainly can see a movement of a fetus during that time, but in terms of any knowledge about pleasure or pain – there are no data to assess,” said Conry, which was reported by U.S. News. “We don’t know enough about the biology and the science.”


Krysta is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.