Cheeky Virginia Lawmaker Fights Abortion Bill With Rectal Exams

doctor's officeThe Virginia Senate passed Republican-backed legislation Wednesday requiring pregnant women to undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. But don't think for one second that the Democrats went down without fighting the good fight -- au contraire! During the debate State Sen. Janet Howell attached an amendment to the bill so, she explained, there could be a "little gender equality." Just what did she propose?

Gentlemen, cover your eyes ...

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First, a quick explanation as to why people are opposed to ultrasound bills in general: Opponents say such bills require women to have a totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience even if they don't want it. Therefore, in protest, Howell proposed an amendment that would require men attempting to obtain a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication, like Viagra, to have a totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience -- specifically, a cardiac stress test and rectal exam.

Oh wow, rectal exams? Did we really have to go there? Actually, yes, yes we did. After all, as Howell stated, it's only FAIR that if women should be so intruded upon, then so should men.

Now, I already know what you are going to scream at me in the comments section say: Erectile dysfunction is hardly the same things as a pregnancy. The thing is: Howell is in complete agreement with that statement (as am I). She knows (and I know) that comparing ED to pregnancy is ridiculous. But sometimes countering with something this ridiculous is the only way to fight against something that is inherently ridiculous to begin with (i.e. an ultrasound bill). In this case, I think Howell succeeded in driving her point home.

Sure, she lost the war; as mentioned, the Virginia Senate ultimately passed the bill. But as far as small victories go, Howell's proposed amendment wasn't so shabby: It was only narrowly rejected by a (admittedly, mostly party line) vote of 21 to 19. But, more important, it's making headlines and getting people all riled up.

Now, because of Howell's amendment, people aren't just talking about the fact that pregnant women will have to undergo an ultrasound prior to having an abortion, they're also debating whether the government should be in the business of legislating people's private medical procedures and forcing doctors to do things that they may or may not think is medically advisable. And anything that creates this much friction and debate about something as serious as people's health? Yeah, I'd call that move pretty brilliant.

Are you for or against bills that require pregnant women to have ultrasounds prior to abortion? Why?


Image via PhotoDu.de/Flickr

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