Quote of the Day: The baby is “the largest organ in the body”

Alabama state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin is pushing a new TRAP bill that could shut down all five of the state’s abortion clinics. According to her, the strict regulations are necessary because abortion is a major surgery. In fact, she claims:

“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.”

little fish in hand

Image via Feministe.

A few questions for Rep. McClurkin:

1) Wait, is a fetus an organ or a person?

2)  Almost 90 percent of abortions take place in the first trimester. At that point, the fetus is roughly the size of this fish. On what scale is that considered big?

3) A first-trimester surgical abortion takes about 10 minutes and usually doesn’t even require general anesthesia. Less than .5 percent of patients have serious complications. I have had a baby-organ removed from my uterus. I have also had a couple wisdom teeth removed from my mouth. Both things, coincidentally, were approximately the size of a blueberry. The dental surgery seemed way more invasive to me. Why do you think you know better than medical professionals what regulations are necessary to ensure patient safety?

4) What did the liver ever do to deserve this erasure?

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation