Sunday, February 19, 2012

Be Informed. Be Afraid. And Vote ...

This is a big deal. A big story. With big repercussions. In an election year. And beyond.

You may or may not know about legislation that is about to be signed into law in Virginia – signed into law by Governor Bob McDonnell, who is making it very well known to the GOP that he would like to be that party's vice presidential nominee – that would require a medically unnecessary vaginal probing which a woman would not be allowed to refuse and which her doctor would be required to perform in advance of an abortion.

This is not a post about abortion. But whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, you should be outraged that the Commonwealth of Virginia is about to mandate rape.

I am not being hyperbolic. I am not overstating the case. Women would be forcibly penetrated with wands for the purposes of obtaining ultrasounds in advance of undergoing abortions. Also, they would be required to wait an undisclosed amount of time between the ultrasounds and the abortions, presumably in the hopes that they will change their minds.

An amendment was added to the bill (by a Democrat) that would have required a woman's consent or would have allowed her doctor to opt out of performing this medically unnecessary procedure.

The amendment was voted down.

All legislative bodies in Virginia are under Republican control presently.

This is today's GOP. The party that insists it favors smaller government is about to sign into law legislation that is as hideously invasive as anything I can fathom.

I remain stunned that birth control is currently the hot-button issue in the GOP primary, that in 2012, old, white men have decided to revisit whether women should have access to contraception. This extends beyond whether religious institutions should be required to provide such access through health insurance. That has been addressed. No, this goes far beyond that talking point.

Congressmen, Senators, Governors, hear this: Women vote. We have enormous power. We are the majority of the population of this country. We are sorely underrepresented in government. And 98 percent of us, now or at some time in our lives, have used birth control. You can convene all the panels of men you wish to convene to decide this issue on our behalf, but know that you will pay for these actions with your political careers.

That Governor Bob McDonnell is about to sign into law state-mandated rape – state- ... mandated ... rape – is reprehensible. And, in turn, that he is openly campaigning to be the next vice president of the United States terrifies me.

And as a citizen of this country, it should terrify you, too.

For more on this story, read Slate's "Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination," or watch Rachel Maddow's reporting on the issue, "Really Really Really Big Government" and "OMGYN."

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