Legislator Attacks Pro-Life Women as “Men With Breasts”

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2012   |   3:36PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

Pennsylvania State Rep. Babette Josephs, a Philadelphia Democrat, may have reached a new low in political discourse on the issues of abortion. Upset that pro-life women in the state legislature support a bill allowing women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before an abortion, she referred to them as “men with breasts.”

As the Patriot-News reports:

During her remarks, she blasted women lawmakers who co-sponsored the ultrasound bill, asking rhetorically, “What are they? Women, or are they men with breasts?” according to supporters of the bill who watched the rally.

Josephs stood by her words after the rally, arguing that the women lawmakers on the bill – sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp of Warren County — are acting like women only in the sense “that they will do what the men tell them.”

“They must believe that they are not capable of making their own health care choices, but they are capable of voting on bills that control all of our behavior,” Josephs continued. “I don’t understand it …

“I don’t believe they’re really women. … I believe they’re men with breasts.”

A local Democratic Party organization, which sponsored the rally stood by the remarks and defended them in an interview with the newspaper.

“That’s her way of questioning the bill, and we support Babette,” said Sally Lyall, chair of the Lancaster Democrats. “We don’t move ahead if we don’t get people’s attention. If this gets people thinking, that’s the point of a rally like this.”

But Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told LifeNews that Josephs’s comments were a desperate political move and a shameless effort to make political hay out of a serious issue—the health and safety of women considering an abortion.

“If abortion centers are already doing ultrasounds prior to abortions, it’s only fair that a woman get a chance to see the ultrasound image before making a decision as grave as abortion,” she said. “For an abortion center to hide an ultrasound from a woman is cruel and dangerous.”

Gallagher said pro-abortion politicians, led by Attorney General candidate Patrick Murphy, “overlook the fact that ultrasounds are routinely performed at abortion facilities as a basic standard of care.”

“It is considered good medical practice to perform ultrasounds before abortions take place.  In fact, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation, performs ultrasounds on women considering abortion as part of its standard protocol,” she said.

“Pro-abortion politicians in Harrisburg are practicing bad medicine,” Gallagher said.  “Women have a right to all relevant information concerning their pregnancies.  To conceal this information is a disservice to women across the Commonwealth.”

At least 23 states have laws on the books regulating the use of ultrasound by abortion providers.  As part of informed consent, women considering abortion should have the right to view an ultrasound image of their pregnancy.  If a woman has a broken leg, she would expect to see an X-ray of the break, Gallagher concludes. Therefore, it only stands to reason that a pregnant woman should be afforded the opportunity to see an ultrasound.

ACTION: Contact Rep. Josephs to complain at https://www.pahouse.com/contact/viaLDPC.asp?district=182