Let’s face it: the GOP has some problems with understanding science. It probably comes from embracing creationism, or their refusal to listen to those dread agents of the government, teachers. But whatever the cause, Republicans tend to react to discussions of scientific fact by covering their ears, shouting “LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU!”, and asserting that several lobbyists have assured them that the Sun does too orbit the Earth, and that there’s no such thing as “water,” and that contraceptives actually increase the likelihood of pregnancy when they’re not causing abortions.
Still, while I’m used to Republicans boiling all arguments down beyond reductio ad absurdum, they still have the capacity to surprise me. Take the Florida Republicans, please:
At one point [Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando] suggested that his wife “incorporate her uterus” to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn’t want to further regulate a Florida business.
Apparently the GOP leadership of the House didn’t like the one-liner.
They told Democrats that Randolph is not to discuss body parts on the House floor.
“The point was that Republicans are always talking about deregulation and big government,” Randolph said Thursday. “And I always say their philosophy is small government for the big guy and big government for the little guy. And so, if my wife’s uterus was incorporated or my friend’s bedroom was incorporated, maybe they (Republicans) would be talking about deregulating.
“It’s not like I used slang,” said Randolph, who actually got the line from his wife.
First, it is a good line. Randolph has a smart wife. Second, “uterus?” Really, you can’t mention body parts on the floor of the Florida House?
Hell no you can’t!
…the Speaker believes it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery.
Yes, uterus, a word so scandalous that 17-year-old pages will faint in horror at the very sound! I mean, sure, it is the scientific term for the organ in female mammals where fetuses gestate prior to birth, and sure, it’s really no more horrific a term than heart or prostate or pyloric sphincter. But still, that’s God’s EZ-Bake Oven! You can’t just mention it on the floor of the House, like half of humans have one!
Of course, the real reason the GOP objects to the use of the term is not because they’re horrified at it, but because mentioning uteri is a reminder that fetuses are not abstract sparks of life floating free in the universe, but actual things created by actual biological processes and dependent on actual women for their existence. If we acknowledge that uteri exist, next we might have to acknowledge that women exist – and that they themselves are living creatures who (in contrast to fetuses and embryos) have fully-developed brains capable of making decisions. And if we acknowledge that, we might have to acknowledge that denying those women the right to choose their reproductive destiny does tremendous injury to their liberty.
So it’s much better that we just ban words. That way, we can go on pretending that abortion bans don’t affect anyone. The only alternative is to listen to science. And that is something Republican’s don’t do.