Matt Gaetz says women who ‘look like a thumb’ shouldn’t worry about abortion access in misogynistic speech

Florida congressman faces widespread criticism for overtly misogynistic remarks to right-wing student conference

Alex Woodward
New York
Sunday 24 July 2022 18:32 BST
Matt Gaetz makes misogynistic anti-abortion speech to right-wing conference

“Disgusting” women who “look like a thumb” have the “least likelihood of getting pregnant” and have no reason to support abortion rights, Republican congressman Matt Gaetz said in his openly misogynistic remarks to a right-wing student conference in Florida.

“Have you watched these pro-abortion, pro-murder rallies? The people are just disgusting,” the Florida representative said in a speech to the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa on 23 July.

“Like, why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?” he said. “No one wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.”

He continued: “These people are odious on the inside and out. They’re like, 5’2”, 350 pounds, like, ‘Give me my abortions or I’ll get up and march and protest.’ And I’m thinking – march? You look like you got ankles weaker than the legal reasoning behind Roe v Wade. A few of them need to get up and march. They need to get up and march for like an hour a day. Swing those arms, get the blood pumping, maybe mix in a salad.”

When asked for comment following widespread criticism, a spokesperson for Mr Gaetz’s congressional office told The Independent that his “speech speaks for itself”.

The US Supreme Court revoked the constitutional right to abortion care in a landmark decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization on 24 June. The ruling struck down the half-century precedents established by Roe v Wade and affirmed by 1992’s Planned Parenthood v Casey.

“How many of the women rallying against overturning Roe are over-educated, under-loved millennials who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats, and no [Bumble] matches?” Mr Gaetz wrote on Twitter in May following publication of a leaked draft of the court’s opinion.

Following the decision, at least eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin – have outlawed abortion entirely in nearly all instances. As many as 26 states are expected to severely restrict or outlaw abortion access in the coming weeks and months, forcing patients in those states to give birth or travel hundreds or thousands of miles to legal care.

Mr Gaetz was among 195 House Republicans who voted against a bill to protect the right to access contraception on 21 July. (Only eight Republicans voted in support.)

He also joined 209 House Republicans who voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act – which would codify a right to abortion care – on 15 July.

Mr Gaetz also voted against the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, which would protect the right of abortion patients who live in states that have outlawed or severely restricted care to travel to other states without risking prosecution or legal action in their home states.

Only three Republicans joined all Democrats in support.

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