Watch Jessica Williams Show Just How Ridiculous It Is To Take a Fetus To Court

Watch Jessica Williams Show Just How Ridiculous It Is To Take a Fetus To Court
Source: Hulu
Source: Hulu

Abortion Court is in session.

Thursday night, The Daily Show's Jessica Williams interviewed "fetal attorney" Julian McPhillips, whose job is to represent fetuses in court.

Yes. In the wonderful world where fetuses are persons, they can also, thanks to an Alabama parental consent law called HB 494, acquire legal assistance to prevent their termination. 

Signed into law just last year, HB 494 says that if a minor seeks an abortion without the consent of her family, the family or the state can put her on trial, "even if that means disclosing her pregnancy to people in her life who didn't previously know about it," Tara Culp-Ressler explains at ThinkProgress. "Alabama may also hire someone to represent the fetus' 'best interests' in court."

Williams' segment not only proves that HB 494 is absolutely ridiculous, it also reaffirms that the pro-life movement is misogynistic, and that states like Alabama have written misogyny right into state law.

Source: Hulu

Williams' questions point to one glaring truth about the pro-life movement: Fetuses aren't people. Not only are they not people, but they cannot speak, which is why her questions are freaking hilarious:

Williams: "You get a call from a fetus seeking legal representation. Then what happens?"
McPhillips: "I cannot get a call from a fetus for anything, much less legal representation."
Williams: "So how do you mean confidentiality with your client?" 
McPhillips: "Well, of course if you've got an unborn child in somebody else's womb, I cannot communicate with them directly. You know better than to ask the question."
Williams: "Well, I dunno. You have a crazy-ass job, sir."

This one clip reflects the entire strategy of the pro-life movement: The fetus, as Williams showcases in her barrage of questions, must be represented by someone who is a real, live person. In protest placards, for example, pro-lifers give speech to fetuses by using bubble quotes.

Not only is HB 494 ridiculous, it values the fetus not only above women's lives, but above all lives. As Alabama ACLU executive director Susan Watson notes in the segment, Alabama doesn't allocate any funding for a statewide public defender system — but they do maintain a fund to defend fetuses. 

Williams brilliantly unpacks the hypocrisy of Alabama's law, a state which received a "F" rating from NARAL in their January 2015 report card on women's reproductive rights. While the ACLU filed suit against this law back in October, there has yet to be legal change. Thank goodness the women of Alabama have Jessica Williams to speak for them.

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Marcie Bianco

Dr. Marcie Bianco is a Staff Writer at Mic, a Contributing Editor at Curve Magazine, and an adjunct associate professor at Hunter College. She has contributed to AfterEllen, Feministing, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Lambda Literary, XO Jane, and The Women’s Review of Books. She writes and lectures about ethics, from feminism to race relations. Her current writing projects include a manuscript about lesbian academic affairs and a collection of feminist essays.

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