Photo by Cedric Fox on Unsplash

Save The Turtles And Preserve Abortion Rights

A U.S. Senator from Montana has conflated federal law that protects endangered sea turtles with the current federal law that allows abortions.
It’s hard to tell if Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is more of a champion of the rights of unborn sea turtles than he is for the rights of unborn babies. He may actually be pressing the case for greater constitutional rights for turtles.
Daines stood in front of a poster showing turtle hatchlings and babies while instructing that sea turtle eggs get more federal protection than fertilized human embryos. The Senator used his far fetched analogy while reiterating his opposition to abortion on May 10, during hearings on a Democratic plan to save a woman’s right to have an abortion. The Democratic plan was defeated and the U.S. Supreme Court is likely poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting a woman’s right to privacy and abortion.
“If you were to take or destroy the eggs of a sea turtle, the criminal penalties are severe,” he said. “Why do we have laws in place that protect the eggs of a sea turtle or the eggs of eagles? Because when you destroy an egg, you’re killing a preborn baby sea turtle or a preborn baby eagle.”
Daines called the Senate Democrats bill “radical,” and tweeted that “an unhatched sea turtle would have more protections than an unborn human baby. Is that the America the Left wants?”
A mouthpiece for the senator later clarified his comments.
“If the liberal elites and far-left cared as much about unborn human babies than they do about baby sea turtles, America would be better off,” the mouthpiece said.
Those comments elicited a quick answer from Planned Parenthood.
“And this is why women don’t turn to politicians for advice on health care decisions. Montanans don’t want any politician controlling their personal health care decisions, but especially not any politician that compares them to sea turtles,” said Martha Fuller, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood of Montana.
Daines fails to see that laws protecting endangered species are totally different than laws that support a woman’s right to choose abortion.
Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, deliberately destroying — or even disturbing — a bald eagle’s egg or nest carries a $100,000 fine and a sentence of up to a year in prison for a first offense, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sea turtles are protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. In Florida — which provides further safeguards — any act against a sea turtle’s nest and eggs is considered a third-degree felony, wielding a penalty of $100 per egg.
Anyone who attacks a sea turtle or eagle and destroys their eggs is held criminally responsible. But under the likely Supreme Court ruling, abortion would be prohibited, even if a woman is raped or victimized by a relative. Too often women are called liars and their human rights are quickly discarded.
Daines has extended his pious concerns over the sanctity of life by opposing the use of research that involves stem cells from discarded human embryos to create human-animal hybrids or chimeras. The National Institutes of Health currently prohibits funding for research involving chimeras, but Daines wants to make it really, really clear that embryonic stem cells may not be used in such research.
For thousands of years, chimeras have been one of the most common themes in storytelling as with Pan, a deity in Greek mythology that rules over and symbolizes the untamed wild, being worshiped by hunters, fishermen, and shepherds in particular. The character is a Satyr who has the hindquarters, legs and horns of a goat while otherwise being essentially human in appearance.
Daines would certainly oppose any real life Pans with the same vigor he would fight to block use of embryonic stem cells for scientific research that could be used in finding cures for various diseases of people, babies included.
Daines may be insistent on supporting unborn lives but he has a spotty history in supporting lives of adults. He opposed legalized abortion except to protect the life of the mother, but he hasn’t led any efforts to provide more federal funds for paid leave, day care or any of the other many needs of newborn children and their new parents.
Daines was an aggressive backer of ex-president trump and supported his policies 86 percent of the time. That included Daines’ vote in 2018 to allow the government to shut down if Congress didn’t meet trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Bootlicking for trump’s wall, was apparently more important to Daines than passing a budget that funds all of the lifesaving social service programs for Americans, including newborn babies.
Daines supported trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, even though public health officials estimate that trump’s inaction led to more than half a million deaths which could have been avoided if trump strongly supported protective measures, like wearing masks and keeping safe distances, which he did not.
“I think he’s done a good job, I do,” Daines said of trump’s COVID-19 inactivity in a May 6, 2020, story in Politico. “The president prepared for the worst, and thankfully we’re starting to see declines in infection rates and now it’s time to start safely opening up the economy.” That was in 2020 and it’s safe to say the pandemic continued to explode.
During a debate in Montana on Aug. 7, 2020, Daines said that trump has “led boldly” in the effort to stem the pandemic. Like trump had done, Daines blamed the coronavirus pandemic on China, saying that the outbreak in Wuhan is “one of the greatest cover-ups and crimes in our history.”
Daines voted to acquit trump in his impeachment trial, directly clearing the way for trump to continue his damaging and irresponsible policies. During the trial, Daines voted not to hear witnesses and to block the Senate from subpoenaing documents from the White House. In the same way, Daines rejected calls for trump to resign or be impeached in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the capitol by trump supporters.
Daines’ professed love of life and the American way apparently did not apply when it came to the June 2020 protests against racism and police brutality in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. Daines said he was “grateful for the president’s leadership” when trump decided to disperse protesters in Washington, D.C., with a chemical irritant so that he could stage a photo op in front of St. John’s Church.
And Daines’ allegiance to the laws of the land took a big hit on Jan. 2, 2021, when he joined 11 other Republican senators in an attempt to overturn the presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania after trump and his allies made false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
The Senator’s single-minded campaign to protect life also collides head-on with his rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2019, the former corporate executive for Procter & Gamble and RightNow Technologies said, “to suggest that [climate change] is human-caused is not a sound scientific conclusion.”
Daines apparently also doesn’t quite get it that gas and coal production causes widespread pollution and carbon dioxide which is a major contributor to global warming and climate change, claims of those scientists who don’t reach a “sound scientific conclusion.”
In February 2021, Texas was suffering giant power outages amid a snowstorm, leading Daines to tweet on the need for “reliable energy sources like natural gas & coal” rather than renewable energy sources from wind turbines and solar energy. Of course, Daines did not mention that failures in natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy systems caused nearly twice as much power outages as frozen wind turbines and solar panels, though wind power was reduced by a far higher percentage. In November 2021, Daines criticized the Biden administration for stricter regulations of methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector.
One would think that someone who cherishes life would surely want to limit the amount of guns. But that would not be the position of Daines, who opposes gun control legislation, including expanded background checks and red flag laws, to notify authorities if a potentially dangerous person possesses firearms.
Moving right along, Daines showed his support of bringing necessary health care to Americans when he voted in 2017 to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Immigrants, it would seem, also fall distant from Daines’ cause of protecting the quality of life. He opposed allowing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to apply for temporary protection to stay in the United States and he supported Trump’s 2017 executive order to temporarily ban entry to the U.S. of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
Daines opposes same-sex marriage and said he was “disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s decision that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. That’s a big contradiction with the senator’s abiding love of the rights of his fellow men, right down to those who haven’t yet come into the world.
But getting back to sea turtles, there are seven types, flatback, green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, and olive ridley and they all are considered as endangered or threatened and need to be protected.
It takes decades for sea turtles to reach sexual maturity. Mature sea turtles may migrate thousands of miles to reach breeding sites. After mating at sea, adult female sea turtles return to land to lay their eggs. In the extreme case, females return to the same beach where they hatched. This can take place every two to four years in maturity.
In the oceans, sea turtles, especially green sea turtles, are among the very few creatures (manatees are another) that eat sea grass. Sea grass needs to be constantly cut short to help it grow across the sea floor. Sea turtle grazing helps maintain the health of the sea grass beds.
Most sea turtle mortality happens early in life. Sea turtles usually lay around 100 eggs at a time, but on average only one of the eggs from the nest will survive to adulthood. Raccoons, foxes, and seabirds may raid nests or hatchlings may be eaten within minutes of hatching as they make their initial run for the ocean. Once in the water, they are susceptible to seabirds, large fish and even other sea turtles.
Hang in there sea turtles. We have your backs even if a certain senator does not.

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