States have aggressively regulated abortion in recent years. Between just 2011 and 2013, they passed 205 laws restricting access to the procedure — more laws than passed in the entire prior decade.
That's a staggering statistic but, because it's just a number, it also masks the type of laws that states are passing. In July, Alabama passed HB494, a measure that allows the state to hire a lawyer to represent the "best interests" of a fetus in the event that a teenage girl cannot (or does not want to) get parental consent for an abortion (parental consent is needed to get an abortion for girls in Alabama).
"Under this new law, the court can appoint an attorney for the fetus and actually put the teen on trial, " Susan Watson, the executive director for the ACLU of Alabama told The Daily Show.
Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams found a fetal attorney named Julian McPhillips to point out the ridiculousness of this concept . Among other things like fetuses eating their twins in the womb, she asked about attorney-client privilege:
McPhillips: "Well of course if you've got an unborn child in somebody else's womb, I cannot communicate with them directly. You know better than to ask the question."
Williams: "Well, I dunno. You have a crazy-ass job, sir."
There's a lot of humor in watching McPhillips get ornery and angry, but it is also arresting in that lawyers like McPhillips aren't fiction.