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Opinion columnist Gail Collins accused Republican senators of comparing women to sea turtles in a Wednesday op-ed featured in The New York Times, calling out Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and James Lankford, R-Okla., for employing the comparison after she reflected on the sexist rhetoric of her Catholic girls’ school.

“The goal of the Democratic Senate bill was mainly to get the public focused on the reproductive rights issue before the fall elections. And that certainly couldn’t hurt,” she wrote.

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New York Times building in New York City
(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo)

“There have to be voters out there who aren’t all that geared up about going to the polls but who might be moved if they got to hear the speech by Republican Steve Daines of Montana that praised anti-abortion laws as being similar to ones ‘that protect the eggs of a sea turtle or the eggs of eagles.'”

Collins noted that the sea turtle comparisons “have been coming up a lot” during abortion debates and criticized the assertion that human babies in the womb should be as valued and protected as the fertilized eggs of endangered animals.

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”If people call me a radical for believing children are valuable — so be it,” Lankford told a group of pro-choice demonstrators, according to the piece.

Collins said the “radical” label does not come from believing children are valuable but instead from “believing that the reproductive experiences of female water-dwelling reptiles are comparable to the experiences of human beings whose offspring will need and deserve many years of constant care and concern in order to prosper.”

A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington following reports of a leaked draft opinion by the court overturning Roe v. Wade. 

A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington following reports of a leaked draft opinion by the court overturning Roe v. Wade.
(AP Photo/Anna Johnson)

The criticism falls after a lengthy critique of her Catholic girls’ school’s religious – and allegedly sexist – rhetoric which emphasized the need for sex to occur only between married couples, called out abortion for being an act of murder and condemned intimate behaviors between boys and girls.

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“I still have a vivid memory of being marched into the auditorium for a lecture from a visiting cleric who assured us that when Jesus was dying on the cross, he was tortured by a vision of the sins of mankind — notably adolescent girls ‘’making out with boys in the back seat of a car,'” she wrote before tying in a comparison to a conservative-majority Supreme Court that, in last week’s leaked draft opinion, caused an uproar with a proposal that would revert abortion policy powers to the states.

“It’s pretty clear where we’re going,” she wrote.

“The Supreme Court’s Trump-constructed majority will reject the by-now-longstanding understanding that a woman has the constitutional right to decide whether she wants to end a pregnancy. In at least 13 states, laws banning abortion could kick into place almost immediately.

“This is the land of my high school religion classes,” she wrote.

 

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