Based on something he read online, an Oklahoma state senator has introduced a bill that would ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food.
Yes, you read that correctly.
No, he's never heard of any instances of this happening before, Sen. Ralph Shortey told the Associated Press.
But Shortey read that it might be happening, so he thought the bill would, at the very least, give any food companies toying with the idea an "ultimatum."
The legislation, known as SB 1418, is only a couple of paragraphs long. It states:
"No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients."
Shortey, a father of two who worked as an oil and gas production consultant, told the Associated Press that he found online evidence that some companies outside of Oklahoma use embryonic stem cells to develop artificial flavors.
Shortey did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday, but the Daily Oklahoman reported his motivation for the bill: "Shortey said he filed the bill after reading last fall that an anti-abortion group, Children of God for Life, had called on the public in March 2010 to boycott products of major food companies that partnered with a biotech company that produces artificial flavor enhancers, unless the company stopped using aborted fetal cells to test their products. The company has denied the allegation."
Federal food safety officials have never heard of such a thing. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the agency has never gotten any reports of fetuses being used in food production.
Shortey, elected in 2010, has introduced a spat of controversial bills including denying Oklahoma citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the state. Another bill he wrote would have allowed police to confiscate the homes and cars of illegal immigrants. He also tried to advance a bill that would have required presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship before being allowed on Oklahoma's primary ballot.
None of Shortey's controversial bills have become law.
As news began circulating of his latest legislative priority, the Twitterverse responded with disbelief and amusement.
One person wrote: "This may conflict with my dream of eating aborted fetus dumplings, but Sen Ralph Shortey is hilariously delusional."
Another: "Today in Oklahoma crazy: Sen. Ralph Shortey (R) proposes banning "human fetuses in food." Didn't know it was a thing."
Combing through all the tweets, finding one in support of the bill was as likely as finding fetus fries as a side order at your nearest fast-food joint.