Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mechanical rape?

While conservatives are besides themselves about giving a free lunch to a four-year-old girl, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick reports that Virginia may be preparing to forcibly, mechanically penetrate most women who seek early-week abortions.
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.
Republicans countered in essence, "penetration, shmenetration, what's the big deal?" The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports
Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell, sponsored the bill and urged rejection of the amendment.

"If we want to talk about invasiveness, there's nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have," Byron said.
In other words, they had it coming.