Saturday, February 18, 2012

Will Virginia Republicans really mandate object rape?

Dahlia Lithwick has a devastating critique of SB484 in her "Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination."
So the problem is not just that the woman and her physician (the core relationship protected in Roe) no longer matter at all in deciding whether an abortion is proper. It is that the physician is being commandeered by the state to perform a medically unnecessary procedure upon a woman, despite clear ethical directives to the contrary. (There is no evidence at all that the ultrasound is a medical necessity, and nobody attempted to defend it on those grounds.) As an editorial in the Virginian-Pilot put it recently, “Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.”
Read Lithwick's entire column at Slate.

This issue calls to mind three questions:

1. What does this have to do with jobs? The GOP in Virginia has ridden to dominance on Bob McDonnell's slogan "Bob's for Jobs," but the reality is that Bob is for invasive, big right wing government that can probe citizens' bodies without their consent. Remember, these are the same people who were whining about a pat down at the airport last year.

2. Isn't this mandating healthcare? I thought Republicans didn't believe in mandating healthcare (at least this year; they certainly have in past years). So government can't mandate healthcare, but it can mandate the probing of women's vaginas against their will?

3. Does Bob McDonnell not realize how disastrous this will be to his political career? Lithwick speculates that McDonnell will sign this bill because he sees it as his path to a spot on the Republican national ticket and the vice presidency. Does Bob McDonnell not understand that signing this bill will make him the "vaginal probe guy"? Bob McDonnell will be made to wear this bill like an albatross around his neck. Tens of millions of voters nation-wide who have never heard of Bob McDonnell will first hear of him as the Southern governor who signed the bill mandating object rape against women seeking to exercise their constitutionally protected right to seek abortions. In the case of victims of rape or incest, McDonnell would essentially be mandating an additional violation of women who have already suffered a tremendous violation.

Frankly I'm a little surprised. Bob McDonnell has always received really good advice from the people around him about how to soften his image as a social conservative, telling him to back away from his Regent University thesis. Signing this piece of legislation will make Bob McDonnell unelectable in a national general election; it will transform him into "governor object rape" or "governor vaginal probe." McDonnell's future political career is about to become a smoking crater.

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