In what--somehow--passes for good news, Virginia's right-wing lunatic of a governor, Bob McDonnell, backed down from a controversial law he had previously supported, wherein women seeking abortions would first have to submit to a vaginal ultrasound. Instead, Virginia law will "only" require women to have an abdominal ultrasound, with the more intrusive method simply being available as an option if the woman requests it.
(DIGRESSION: Las Vegas bookmakers have established the over/under on vaginal ultrasound requests at zero. EOD)
(ADDITIONAL DIGRESSION: This whole reproductive rights battle has really gotten out of hand. Don't get me wrong: I'm all in favor of vaginas, but could we please go a day without seeing them splattered all over the front page of The New York Times! EOAD)
Well, abdominal ultrasounds. I guess that's not so bad. And it does ensure that women seeking abortions will get ultrasounds, which is important. After all, women need ultrasounds to. . . uh. . . to. . . Wait, why do these women need to have an ultrasound, again? . . . Oh, so that they can see the fetus they're carrying. Oh, OK!
Wait, I'm sorry: This is important, why? . . . Oh, because then they might have second thoughts about having an abortion. . . . I see. . . So, this has absolutely nothing to do with the woman's health, then; it's basically just something politicians are doing to possibly make women feel worse about a decision that they've probably agonized over already. . .
Now, I know what you're all thinking: Here goes the Solipsist on another left-wing rant about overreaching, self-righteous, paleo-conservative zealots seeking to impose their Sharia-esque worldview on the rest of America. Well, you couldn't be more wrong. I think this law is a wonderful idea. I think women should be forced to consider fully the consequences of whatever abortion-related decision they make. Of course, in fairness, if pregnant women must face this sort of "reality check," so should everyone else--especially politicians who seem to find this sort of thing so important:
--You want to repeal Obamacare? You go and explain, in person, one at a time, to a substantial number of people--let's say fifty, just to keep it manageable--a substantial number of people who will lose their access to healthcare--why this is really good for them.
--You don't like gun-control laws? Go speak to the relatives of the Columbine killers or the Virginia Tech massacre or the Tucson shootings--go speak to them one at a time--and explain why everyone must have continued access to guns.
--You don't think taxes should be raised on the rich? Go around the country to explain to people making around $30,000 a year--one at a time--why it's a good thing for the country that they pay taxes at a higher rate than multi-millionaires.
You get the point. If women facing one of the most serious decisions they are ever likely to make must undergo a blatant attempt to force them into empathy, I see no reason why we should not hold our elected representatives to the same standard.
Alternatively, in keeping with the whole vaginal ultrasound concept, we could simply force politicians to undergo a thorough colonoscopy whenever they're thinking about dropping a load of crap on the rest of us.