US Congressman Michael Burgess
US Congressman Michael Burgess says male foetuses masturbate (

An anti-abortion US Congressman has argued that more restrictions should be put in place in regards to terminations because male foetuses masturbate.

Texas republican Michael Burgess' comments were first reported by reproductive and sexual health website RH Reality Check.

During the House of Representatives meeting, the former obstetrician and gynaecologist said: "There is no question in my mind that a baby at 20 weeks after conception can feel pain.

"The fact of the matter is I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15 weeks, 16 weeks.

"Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful.

"They stroke their face. If they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?"

Assault on women's right to choose

The House of Representatives bill aims to ban all abortions before 20 weeks. Burgess, however, believes abortions should be banned from around 15 weeks, just over three months into the pregnancy.

Medical research strongly suggests foetuses do not feel pain before the third trimester.

Following the meeting, the House voted to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill will now move to the senate but it is expected to go no further.

The act directly challenges the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision that, in 1973, legalised abortions up to the point where the foetus becomes viable - normally around 24 weeks.

Prior to the vote, the White House threatened to veto the bill, saying it is "an assault on a woman's right to choose".

Tony Perkins, the anti-abortion president of the Family Research Council, urged the Senate to ignore Obama's administration.

"We call on the Senate to update legal protection for pain-capable children and pass this legislation to stop future Gosnells ... we urge the Senate to ignore the president's advisors and pass the House bill," he said.