Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines was criticized after he compared human pregnancy to protections for sea turtle and eagle eggs during a speech in which he attempted to justify not protecting women's reproductive rights.
Daines' remarks came as the nation continues to reel from the news that a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization will move to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that protects a person's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
Senate Democrats had attempted to codify Roe's protections into law by pushing for a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, but Republicans blocked the legislation. Daines issued his remarks during debate ahead of the vote.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
"If you're to take and destroy the eggs of a sea turtle... the criminal penalties are severe: up to a $1,000 fine or a year in prison. Well, why?"
"Why do we have laws in place to protect the eggs of a sea turtle or the eggs of eagles? Because, when you destroy an egg, you’re killing a pre-born baby sea turtle, or a pre-born baby eagle!"
"Yet when it comes to a pre-born human baby, rather than a sea turtle, that baby will be stripped of all protections in all 50 states under the Democrats’ bill that we’re voting on tomorrow [Wednesday]."
"Is that the America the left wants?"
The eggs of many creatures are protected by law.
For example, human demand for turtle meat, eggs, skin and colorful shells have reduced their populations. This demand has contributed to the destruction of feeding and nesting habitats in addition to the pollution of the world's oceans.
It is estimated that poachers destroy about 90 percent of sea turtle nests to sell the eggs as part of the illegal wildlife trade, which is largely responsible for sea turtles' population decline.
The Endangered Species Act, first passed in 1973, provides a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats both domestically and abroad. The legislation prohibits importing, exporting, taking, possessing, selling, and transporting endangered and threatened species from their natural habitats.
But it should go without saying that humans are not an endangered species–an estimated 385,000 babies are born around the world each day–and that women are autonomous beings, but this fact appeared lost on Daine, whose words sparked significant criticism.
Daines' remarks infuriated many who did not take kindly to women being compared to wild animals.
Senate Democrats’ attempt to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law failed in part because West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin joined Republicans in tanking the bill.
The vote was 51 to 49 and well short of the 60 votes necessary to overcome the filibuster per Senate rules.
President Joe Biden criticized Republicans after the vote, saying that they “have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives.”