Michael Burgess, a pro-life Tea Party Republican, made the outrageous claim while arguing in favour of a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation at a recent House Rules Committee hearing.

“There is no question in my mind that a baby at 20 weeks after conception can feel pain,” Burgess is quoted as saying by news.com.au. “”The fact of the matter is I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15 weeks, 16 weeks.”

The former gynecologist and obstetrician (if you can believe it) from Texas – perhaps realising that he had no scientific or medical facts to back up his ranting – then took it a step further. Burgess reached back into his past vocation and came up clutching a thoroughly unpleasant anecdote.

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs.”

Please don’t say what I think you’re about to say Mr Burgess…

”If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?”

Right. Did a US Congressman just intimate that 15-week, male foetuses often wank inside their mother’s womb? Holy shit! That’s perverse.

And why is he just targeting male foetuses? Do female foetuses not have the same bizarre, pre-birth sexual needs?

Are we sure this guy used to be a real doctor? Are we sure he didn’t just find his medical license dangling off the end of his spoon at breakfast one morning?

Speaking of real doctors, Dr.Lisa Perriera of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland has told the ABC that what Mr Burgess considers masturbating is really just the foetuses subconsciously “practicing using their muscles”.

“Three studies have been done in human foetuses to examine the development of connections between nerves,” Perriera said. “And we don’t think those connections start to form until somewhere between 23 and 30 weeks gestation.”

The vote on the bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks is set to go before the House for a vote sometime on Wednesday (Australian time). Thanks to Burgess’ asinine ramblings it’s not expected to pass.

Image: Getty