Go read Dahlia Lithwick, “Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination“:
Go read the whole thing.
This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.
… The physician is being commandeered by the state to perform a medically unnecessary procedure upon a woman, despite clear ethical directives to the contrary. (There is no evidence at all that the ultrasound is a medical necessity, and nobody attempted to defend it on those grounds.) As an editorial in the Virginian-Pilot put it recently, “Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.”
Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial. Don’t even bother asking whether this law would have passed had it involved physically penetrating a man instead of a woman without consent.
Virginia is to women what Alabama is to undocumented workers.
Right now, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison, Richmond, Old Dominion, George Mason, George Washington and dozens of other colleges and universities in the commonwealth are mailing letters to high school students all over the country. They needn’t have bothered sending half of those. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Republicans of the General Assembly just made it clear that all female students should look elsewhere. The state has demonstrated its contempt for their dignity, safety and humanity.
- Kaia Mursi: “Virginia Mandates ‘Unwanted Vaginal Penetration’“
- Arlington Now: “Englin Blasts GOP Bill for ‘Requiring Vaginal Penetration’“
- Andy Bloxham: “Allowing women drivers in Saudi Arabia will be ‘end of virginity’“
(That last link is about Riyadh, not Richmond, but it’s getting harder to tell the difference.)