SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Congressman Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) raised eyebrows with a line of questioning about what Republicans are calling “unrestricted abortions” during a House Judiciary hearing Wednesday.
The hearing came on the heels of a leaked Supreme Court draft decision regarding Roe vs Wade.
Dr. Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician-gynecologist based in Huntsville, Alabama, a board member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, and the director of the Alabama Women’s Wellness Center testified at the hearing.
Robinson highlighted disparities in access to adequate reproductive healthcare.
“Systemic barriers, racism, and white supremacy are at the root of both our maternal health crisis and our abortion access crisis. It is undeniable that without access to abortion, maternal mortality rates will continue to rise,” Robinson said.
During Johnson’s questioning, he and Robinson sparred about the plausibility of one question in particular. He asked Robinson if she would support a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
“How about if a child is halfway out of the birth canal? Is an abortion permissible then?” Johnson asked.
The question led to a back-and-forth between the two. Robinson insisted that such a question was not only wildly theoretical but also unethical.
Johnson pushed back saying “It’s not a theoretical, ma’am. You’re a medical doctor.”
Kathaleen Pittman, the administrator for Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, says Johnson’s comments during the hearing were not productive.
“His questioning was meant to agitate. No physician would commit homicide as he is suggesting. The fact that he asked those questions is beyond the pale.”
More than half of Americans believe that Roe vs Wade should not be overturned and that abortion is a decision that women should make with their physicians and not one made by lawmakers according to polls published by The Hill in early May.