This is a little dated, but important. This week, the watered down ultrasound bill in Virginia passed. In what apparently passes as a concession, it no longer includes a provision that a woman in early stages of pregnancy will be forced to be penetrated against her will for an unnecessary ultrasound, but it still requires her to submit to an unnecessary (though slightly less invasive) procedure.
As the New York times noted, the bill
would require the ultrasound screen to face the woman while the doctor narrates the images, although the law states that it should not be ‘construed to prevent a pregnant woman from averting her eyes,’
which is nice, since they could have opted for the whole Clockwork Orange eye clamp mandate…
This outrageous violation may be constitutionally permitted through an exemption of the Roe v Wade decision that was authored by Justice Kennedy in 2007. The idea is that the state has an interest in educating women about their decision to terminate a pregnancy. But let’s be real. Any woman who faces the decision about whether to have an abortion or bring an unwanted baby into the world is all too aware that there is a potential life inside of her. She doesn’t need to see pictures of what is happening in her womb or hear the beat of a little heart to understand the gravity of the decision.
This is more like torture than education and it’s the worst example of paternalism that I can think of. When you hear Republicans who are always complaining about the “nanny state,” or when you hear Ron Paul make speeches about “liberty” and “freedom,” think about this law that forces women to have unnecessary medical procedures in order to educate them about what is going on in their own body. That’s the nanny state.
Despite the passage of this law, liberals can take some consolation that their advocacy and ridicule did prevent the enactment of the most egregious version of the law and that people all over the country are now aware of the radical right agenda of the Tea Party Class of 2010. Also, this movement has basically ended Virginia Governor Bob McDonald’s Vice Presidential lobbying campaign.
A nice consolation prize, but I’ll take freedom over comeuppance any day.