"Snark Tank Texas" Parody Video Shows Just How Absurd Anti-Abortion Legislation Has Become
You know how sometimes satire is a little too real? That's the case with "Snark Tank Texas," a video from abortion rights advocacy group Lady Parts Justice. The clip tackles the influence of anti-abortion lobbyists, along with all their dubiously scientific claims about reproductive health, on state legislation, and it's both hilarious and super depressing.
In case you missed it, here's what's going on in Texas right now: This summer, the Supreme Court struck down a 2013 state law requiring abortions to be performed by doctors with admitting privileges to a nearby hospital. Proponents of the law claimed that it was to protect women, but the court ruled the law unconstitutional for placing an "undue burden" on patients.
Six months later, Texas has passed yet another law restricting abortion. This time, the new legislation requires clinics to bury or cremate all fetal remains following a miscarriage or abortion, which is likely to inflate the cost of the procedure. A judge has temporarily blocked the rule, but its existence remains a blow to reproductive rights in the state.
One of the key players in the passage of the fetal burial law was anti-abortion activist Carol Everett. In August, she delivered a testimony at the Texas Department of State Health Services including what the Austin Chronicle described as "a wild hypothetical, bereft of medical science" — she proposed that typical disposal of fetal tissue could expose the population to diseases if a sewer line containing the remains were to break.
This is the type of rhetoric spoofed in Lady Parts Justice's latest video, which mimics the reality show Shark Tank. In the video, a fictionalized Everett appears before a panel of judges to "sell her innovative way to destroy reproductive rights."
The method she's trying to sell to investors? Tiny caskets and urns meant to hold fetuses. When one investor asks what's wrong with the current method of disposing of fetal tissue, the "entrepreneur" waves off the question. "Nothing. I am creating the demand [for fetal burial] by replacing scientific terms like 'tissue disposal' with emotional phrases like 'preserving the dignity of the unborn,'" she explains cheerily.
One of the investors sums up her business plan perfectly. "Invent a terrifying moral crisis, and then sell them the solution!" he says.
The video also touches on the effect a fetal burial law is likely to have: Forcing clinics to shut down. If the state requires the clinic to cover the cost of fetal burial or cremation, they may not be able to afford to stay open. Women are largely the ones who suffer when clinics are forced to close their doors; earlier this year, a study found that after Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, clinics began closing — and low-income women started having more babies.
"Relentlessly creating laws designed for no other reason than to destroy abortion access has become a 24/7 job. ... If we become a nation that entirely dismisses medical facts when making healthcare policy we will have lost," Lady Parts Justice wrote in the caption accompanying the video.
The anti-abortion organization led by the real Everett, by the way, received $1.6 million this year from the Texas government for health care services. The scariest part? "There are people like me in your state," says the fictionalized Everett.
Check out the video above. It's partially intended as a call to sign a petition from the American Civil Liberties Union fighting sham laws; if you're interested, you can find the petition here.