On Sunday night, following a truly bonkers episode of Game of Thrones and wonderful series finale of Veep, John Oliver dedicated the opening portion of his HBO show Last Week Tonight to Georgia’s fetal “heartbeat law,” which seeks to restrict women’s control over their own bodies.
The law, which bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy—or just a week or two after a woman discovers her period is late, let alone that she is pregnant—was enacted Tuesday by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and will surely be challenged in court.
Calling it a “draconian bill,” Oliver explained that the legislation gives a fetus “natural person” status, allowing it to be entitled to child support, claimed as a dependent on tax returns, and included in Georgia’s population. And the only exceptions to the bill—or the only cases where people would be allowed to have abortions—are due to fatal deformity, if the mother’s life is in jeopardy, or cases of rape and incest (corroborated by police report).
“OK, so a couple of things there: First, tax breaks begin at conception may be literally the most Republican law every created; and second, it’s pretty egregious to only make an exception for rape and incest where a police report was filed,” argued Oliver. “I guess that’s to separate the incest they’re talking about from your run-of-the-mill cousin-fucking—or as it’s more commonly known, a Giuliani marriage.” (Oliver was referencing Rudy Giuliani’s marriage to his second cousin.)
During a debate over the bill, Rep. Darlene Taylor (R-GA) delivered a laughably bizarre fanfic speech in which she spoke from the perspective of a baby named “Fetus,” saying, “Baby Fetus says, and I quote, ‘I have that right. Don’t be afraid or intimidated about acknowledging me.’”
Oliver then took it upon himself to quote the highly fictional “Baby Fetus,” saying, “A fetus is not a baby. In fact, at six weeks a fetus isn’t even a fetus; it’s an embryo the size of a pomegranate seed.” He added, “Also, on an unrelated note, I bet the sex that Jim and Pam have is fine, but I bet the sex that Pam and Roy used to have was better. This is the hill I would die on, were I not too fictional to die” (a cheeky reference to NBC’s The Office).
That’s not all, however. Alabama is attempting to push through a bill that would ban abortions at every stage of pregnancy and charge doctors with up to 99 years in prison for performing them, while Ohio lawmakers are mulling whether they should no longer allow insurers to cover abortion services.
“It’s complete fucking nonsense,” Oliver said of the Ohio bill. “And if you’re sensing a pattern here, that’s because just this year, states have introduced more than 250 bills restricting abortion access. It’s pretty clear now, with a conservative Supreme Court, lawmakers are taking every shot they can to get a case that might end up overturning Roe v. Wade, and they’re going to keep trying. Which is why it is incumbent on all of us to pay close attention to this issue.”
Oliver then addressed the anti-choice lawmakers once more from the perspective of Baby Fetus: “Listen, I’m not a constitutional scholar—I’m not anything—but if I were, I’d tell you that laws like these deny women agency over their own bodies, and your actions put their health and lives at risk. But hey, why not ask the women affected what they think? Because they’re actual people, unlike me, a fucking fictional baby named Fetus.”