If you are eating, consider yourself warned. Either put down your fork or proceed at your own risk. This story is likely to ruin your appetite in more ways than one.
Earlier this week the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that requires any woman who wants to get an abortion to first receive a transvaginal ultrasound. The Virginia Senate passed a similar bill earlier this month.
Let me clarify that I am not talking about a place that is coincidentally named Virginia but located in an extremist country where women aren’t allowed to drive or go out in public without being escorted by a male family member. (At least not yet, anyway.) I’m talking about the Commonwealth of Virginia right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. You know, land of the free and all that.
In case you’re not familiar with what a transvaginal ultrasound involves, the name plus the fact that it involves a probe that is one inch in diameter and eight to ten inches long tells you pretty much all you need to know. If you want more details, feel free to google it — after you’re finished eating, of course.
I sure wish there were a political party in this country that was dedicated to protecting individual liberty. Because I’m sure that party would dress up in patriotic clothing, don tri-cornered hats and take to the streets to protest such a gross infringement on our personal liberty.
While the law sought to force all women in Virginia to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, the women would not have been required to look at the image that the procedure produced. That they would not have had to view the image, together with the fact that producing the image is the only reason doctors order such a sonogram to begin with, make shamefully clear what was already obvious: Not only was mandating the test in no way medically necessary, the requirement was intentionally designed to harass women who wanted an abortion by making them endure an unnecessary and degrading procedure.
After the national news and late night comedians picked up on the story, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who had previously given an enthusiastic yes when asked if he supported the bill, woke up and regretted his consent. (Been there.) Let’s hope McDonnell sticks with his answer this time, and 'no' really means no.
After McDonnell’s change of heart, the Senate version of the bill was withdrawn by its sponsor and the idea is reportedly being reworked to require an abdominal (rather than trans-vaginal) ultrasound.
Several states including Texas already have laws in effect requiring ultrasounds prior to being able to get an abortion. Here in Texas, doctors are required to show women the image while describing it in detail, giving Texas the dubious distinction of having the most draconian law of its kind. But, before the events in Virginia this past month, no state had gotten so far with an attempt to specifically require a trans-vaginal ultrasound.
Even though Governor McDonnell’s change of heart seems to have put an end to the matter for now, it is mind-blowing to me that any legislative body in this country would pass a bill — by an almost two to one margin — forcing women to get a medical procedure they don’t want or need, in an attempt to prevent them from getting a medical procedure they do want or need — just because some people have a moral or religious objection to the procedure in question.
Add in that the unnecessary medical procedure is highly invasive and degrading and I’m left almost speechless. I said almost.
What happened to individual liberty?
I sure wish there were a political party in this country that was dedicated to protecting individual liberty. Because I’m sure that party would dress up in patriotic clothing, don tri-cornered hats and take to the streets to protest such a gross infringement on our personal liberty. They would rail on to waiters at Cracker Barrel Restaurants and cashiers at Walmarts all across this great land of ours about how government is out of control and needs to get out of people’s personal lives.
Or if only there were a group that was vehemently opposed to unnecessary spending. Because that group would be up in arms over a proposed law that requires Americans to spend their hard-earned dollars on medical procedures that they neither want nor need. After all, that would be fiscally irresponsible.
And it sure would be handy if there were a movement whose members claimed to be the guardians of old-fashioned values and conservative morals. Because there is no chance in hell that movement would allow a law to pass that requires a woman to be violated by an eight-inch probe when there is no medical reason for the test to begin with. That would be nothing short of obscene. There’s no way members of such a movement would take that lying down — whether their feet were in stirrups or not.
And if we could only find a “news” network that felt really strongly about people’s personal religious beliefs being exactly that — personal — and worthy of protection from overreaching laws. Surely that “news” network would shine a bright light on how completely un-American it would be to allow a bill to dictate one group’s religious view on a certain issue to everyone else.
I mean, that would be way more over the line than, say, a health-care regulation that simply sought to treat everyone the same regardless of their religion. The talking heads on that “news” network would surely come up with a saying to communicate their unified opposition to such a bill —a saying similar to “We’re all Catholics now.” (“We’re all hypocrites now” might work.)
But you know what they say: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And since there apparently aren’t any parties, groups, movements or “news” networks that stand for any of these principles, I have a few of my own personal views I’d like to impose on everyone else.
Anal probe for strip club goers
Let’s start with strip clubs and pornography. I object to these things because I believe they exploit women. Now that I know this isn’t a country where people are free to reach their own conclusions and have different beliefs on matters such as these, I’d like to propose the following new law: Before any man can go to a strip club or view any pornography, he has to submit to an anal probe. He won’t have to look at the results of the anal probe — but hopefully just the prospect of having to submit to one will scare and embarrass him into behaving in a way that is consistent with my personal idea of right and wrong.
And as a vegetarian, hunting strikes me as immoral since it is inherently unfair, pitting humans with their larger brains (at least theoretically) and weapons against unarmed animals. Since it’s OK now to make laws designed to coerce everyone into acting in accordance with my sense of morality, I’d like to pass a law that requires people who want to get a hunting license to first spend a Survivor-style weekend naked (hey — animals don’t wear clothes) and defenseless in the wilderness where they try to avoid getting shot at with BB guns by people with higher IQs. Maybe if they have to do something as embarrassing and extreme as that, they will think twice about going hunting.
And spanking children offends my conscience. So, I would like to propose a law that requires that each time an adult wants to spank his child he must first go to a person who holds a position of authority over him — like perhaps his boss or the mayor of the city that he lives in — drop his drawers and receive a vigorous paddling. Only after he has taken this step can he proceed with spanking his own child.
Those are the first three laws I’d like to pass to force my own personal beliefs on my fellow countrymen. That’s all I have at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll come up with more. While I’m thinking, this might be a good time for you to go back to finishing your meal if you have any appetite left. And if you’re thirsty, how about some Virginia-style tea? It’s not exactly refreshing, but it does have a chilling effect — and it’s customarily served with a heaping helping of hypocrisy.