Honest Defenders of Forced Penetration

So far, it’s been a little odd to read defenses of the bill—passed by the Virginia House of Delegates last week—to require “trans-vaginal ultrasounds” for women seeking abortions. Supporters conscious of public opinion argue that it is strictly a means to provide information and guarantee the safety of the mother. “The only way that they can determine the age of the fetus at an early age is by performing a trans-vaginal ultrasound,” said Delegate Kathy J. Byron, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the House version of the legislation.

This, of course, isn’t the point. Whether or not a trans-vaginal ultrasound is medically necessary is separate from the fact that this is an involuntary procedure, forced by the state, and performed for political reasons. The issue here is consent, and the simple fact is that the state should not be allowed to stick something inside your body for the sake of preventing a legal and legitimate medical procedure. This doesn’t come as a big surprise, but it’s been the most right-wing members of the Virginia legislature who have been honest about their intentions:

Delegate Bob Marshall, a Republican who plans to vote for the bill, contends that the argument does not ring true because the abortion itself is far more invasive.

“The intrusion is already taking place,” he said.

In other words, once you’ve been penetrated, you are fair game for anyone who comes along, including the government.

The good news is that Virginians aren’t nearly this extreme; according to a recent poll by Christopher Newport University and the Richmond Times Dispatch, 55 percent of Virginians say they oppose the measure, while 36 percent support it. The bad news, unfortunately, is that this bill still stands a fair chance of passing.