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Madison Cawthorn Calls Women “Earthen Vessels” in Unhinged Rant About Abortion

Women are not ceramics, you zealot.

Madison Cawthorn in his wheelchair in a hallway of the Capitol

As Roe v. Wade teeters on the edge of being overturned or gutted by the U.S Supreme Court, far-right republicans are offering all sorts of nonsense talking points to deprive Americans of their reproductive rights. There’s Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s dismissal of the trauma of forced birth and adoption. And now extremist Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) has added his two cents, in an unhinged rant that compares abortions to Polaroids and sunsets, and refers to women as “earthen vessels.” All very normal and not at all talking points from The Handmaid’s Tale!

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Cawthorn, who previously advised parents, “if you are raising a young man, please raise them to be a monster,” described abortion as someone taking a Polaroid picture, detailing “You hold it and shake it, waiting for the picture to appear, but suddenly someone walks by and snatches your photo, ripping it to shreds… You cry, ‘Why did you destroy my picture? The person replies, ‘oh it wasn’t a picture it wasn’t fully developed yet.”

The rant then descends into biblical nonsense, where serial sexual harasser Cawthorn calls women “earthen vessels” and adds “One day, perhaps when science darkens the soul of the left, our nation will repent.” Okay, what?

This analogy is so bonkers and wildly incoherent that it hurts my brain just to type it out. Is Cawthorn implying that 9 months of pregnancy and giving birth is akin to a Polaroid camera spitting out an image? Are women the cameras in this metaphor? What if producing a photo caused the camera to break or cease to function entirely?

And a Polaroid photo doesn’t require 18 years of care and feeding, nor does the camera require several weeks of physical recuperation to keep on working. It also doesn’t help that the second that photo develops, Cawthorn and his ilk refuse to grant maternity leave, healthcare, or any sort of social support systems to care for the photo. Sorry camera, you’re shit out of luck: earthen vesslry doesn’t pay the bills or buy the diapers.

Also, has he ever tried to tear up a Polaroid? Those things are made of plastic, and are impossible to tear.

Many took to social media to criticize Cawthorn’s virulent nonsense:

(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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