Only State Senator Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma Is Vigilant Against Fetus-Eaters

When you come right down to it, State Senator Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma is articulating the core value of politicians everywhere: this is America, dammit, and a complete lack of evidence or logic should be no barrier to passing legislation banning or regulating something.

In Senator Shortey's case, the thing in question is the grim prospect of corporations serving us human fetuses to eat as food, or in novelty items like ring-pops. Concluding that this is a real threat that Americans face, Shortey has introduced Oklahoma Senate Bill 1418:

No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients.
SECTION 2. This act shall become effective November 1, 2012.

Shortey delayed the bill's effective date until November because, though serving fetuses to unsuspecting consumers is a real and palpable threat, banning it isn't something you want to just rush into.

What caused Shortey to conclude that there was a need for a don't-serve-us-fetuses-you-big-bad-corporations law? He read it someplace. I'll give you one guess as to where.

Freshman Sen. Ralph Shortey said his own Internet research led him to believe such a ban is necessary and prompted him to offer the bill aimed at raising "public awareness" and giving an "ultimatum to companies" that might consider such a policy.

Shortey said he discovered suggestions online that some companies use embryonic stem cells to develop artificial flavors, but added that he is unaware of any Oklahoma companies doing such research.

America needs leaders like Shortey — leaders willing to scour the internet for any hints of threats from fetus-peddling corporations or possibly Lizard People. Who else is going to protect us? Our so-called regulators?

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Pat El-Hinnawy said: "FDA is not aware of this particular concern."

Of course the FDA is not aware of this concern. The FDA hasn't read nearly enough Geocities pages.

Some might see Senator Shortey's actions as bizarre, unbalanced, or indicative of poorly chosen priorities. I prefer to see them as noble. Why? Well, if Ralph Shortey is legislating against things that don't exist, he's not micromanaging real-world industries or regulating to help rent-seeking donors or passing stupid anti-bullying laws or otherwise interfering with the affairs of real humans that others can see and hear. Let's encourage more state legislators to be like Ralph Shortey. Let's tell them to spend more of their time legislating against the horrors of jenkem and bonsai kittens and the like. It keeps them busy.

Via Consumerist, courtesy of Amy Alkon.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. says

    By the way, if you choose to spin this in Senator Shortey's favor as a stealth method of banning stem cell research, not that it's utterly ineffective, as it only applies by its terms to aborted fetuses.

  2. says

    "…food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses"

    I would assume that "any other product intended for human consumption" would include cosmetics. I vividly recall an email that was circulating a long time ago claiming that aborted fetuses were being used in the manufacture of cosmetics, which makes me wonder if this whole thing got started because someone forwarded that email to the Senator.

    (Snopes does not have a specific entry on this legend, but it is discussed on their message board.)

  3. Andrew says

    Memo to all politicians: Step away from the Internet. Do not return until you are familiar with both Snopes.com and the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

  4. says

    @Dwight Brown: I believe it was placental tissue at issue with the cosmetics. Since some companies allegedly use foreskin tissue in face creams, this is not a gender wars matter.

  5. says

    Wait… what?!

    Who the hell are they electing down there in whereverthehellthisguy'sfrom? This is so absurd that I had to check and make sure that Ken hadn't accidentally re-posted an Onion article.

  6. says

    Wait, we're talking about eating people and yet there has been no soylent green reference? I thought surely there would be a "fetus free"/"dolphin free" suggestion.

  7. Acleron says

    If he needs to create banning legislation, can someone tell him about homeopathy? The he would be eliminating nothing at all, a win win situation.

  8. strech says

    Oh, so unaborted fetuses are okay to eat!!!

    Clearly the Senator has been bought off by the baby-eating lobby.

  9. Caleb says

    I for one fully subscribe to Ken's "shiny object" strategy of legislative quality control. From now on, every email chain I receive will be forwarded to my elected congresscritters.

  10. VPJ says

    I'm totally confused now. Can I or can I not legally eat aborted fetuses when visiting Oklahoma?

    I think the law is not yet in effect, so you are still legally allowed to dig in. I find that they're best when hit with just a spritz of malt vinegar.

  11. PubDef says

    Ralphie's not the sharpest knife in the legislative drawer. And with our legislature, that's REALLY saying something.

  12. Eddie Willers says

    "The FDA hasn't read nearly enough Geocities pages."

    An easy thing to do, given that the US Yahoo/GeoCities went offline permanently in October 2009.

  13. Jag says

    "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke." – Will Rogers

  14. Smock Puppet, 10 Dan Snark Master says

    The FDA hasn't read nearly enough Geocities pages

    LOL, now HOW many people have been around long enough to get THAT joke…?

    "Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke." – Will Rogers

    I think our politicians have been a joke for the most part since long before Will Rogers' time. I recall that

    a) Indiana's state legislature, iirc, actually did begin the process of passing a law declaring that the value of "pi" would exactly three within state borders. Got killed in committee, I hear, but, as the saying goes, if you don't know what's wrong with that on first description, "you're too dumb to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel".

    b) I heard that, on one occasion, the Kansas State legislature, for some reason, officially declared that the "Goldfinch" was a public nuisance. Iowa (state bird… you guessed it: the Goldfinch) was offended, and their state legislature officially declared that the Sunflower was a "noxious weed". The Sunflower is, of course, the state flower of Kansas. I'd say clearly we need to find them something better to do, but I think far and away the best thing for them to do is declare recess for longer periods of time.

    Y'all DO know why Taxes are worse than Death?

    'Cause Death doesn't get worse every time Congress convenes.

  15. says

    Oh, god… can't breathe… tears running down cheeks and tummy hurts… and every time I scroll down to a new comment, it just starts up again. Gasping, shrieking laughter that probably has the neighbors calling the cops, thinking I'm getting butchered over here…

    This is better than The Onion.

  16. Linus says

    Yes, this fellow is a moron, but surely this:

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Pat El-Hinnawy said: "FDA is not aware of this particular concern."

    was intended to give this margarita the shot of irony it needed. Lady, "what the FDA is not aware of" fills libraries.

  17. says

    Here's the thing, Debi: that doesn't really "clear the Senator's name," because (1) he couldn't articulate it the first time he was interviewed, (2) the law is ridiculously overbroad to address that purported concern, (3) the law is incompetently drafted so that it's not clear it reaches that purported concern, and (4) is premised on a remote and unproven claim that one company must have used a stem cell line derived from a fetus in the Netherlands in 1970 for certain experiments because it once applied for a patent allowing it do to so.

    Moreover, his reaction to his new fame demonstrates that he is an irretrievable doofus:

    “I want a serious conversation about this,” Shortey told the Los Angeles Times. “This wasn’t an open invitation for the country to chime in. This was an invitation to my colleagues to have this discussion.”

  18. says

    Debi,

    Do you think you can use your connections to the senator to get him to do something about the dangers of backward-masked satanic messages in rock music?

  19. Narad says

    (4) is premised on a remote and unproven claim that one company must have used a stem cell line derived from a fetus in the Netherlands in 1970

    The NPR article handled this in somewhat confusing fashion. HEK-293 is not a stem cell line.

  20. O Bloody Hell says

    Moreover, his reaction to his new fame demonstrates that he is an irretrievable doofus

    It proves that we need some improved mechanism for fool-killing. Auto accidents and the like just aren't cutting it.

    One downside to modern civilization is that boneheaded damnfoolishness used to get you killed.

    You'd do something really stupid and a tiger would get you, your offspring, if any, would be worse off because they wouldn't have any support.

    You'd fall and break something serious and die, rather than have it healed.

    So more and more fools get into society, and live to have equally foolish offspring.

    Put more simply:
    Too much tiger food.
    Not enough tigers.
    We Need More Tigers!!

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