By Peter Galuszka
Abortion is always a very unpleasant topic just as it must be horrendous for a woman to be in a position to make such as choice. Still, it is her constitutional right, the law of the land.
So, after years of trying, Virginia’s conservative legislators are on the verge of putting themselves, and the power of the state, in between a pregnant woman and her doctor with a measure that would require that an ultrasound examination be performed before the abortion takes place. In six other states that have such a provision, the mother would be “offered” a chance to see the result although not required to do so, according to Guttmacher Institute.
Experts agree that there’s no medical reason for an ultrasound in the first trimester of a pregnancy. Rather, such a requirement is a naked psychological ploy to assault the mother with feelings of guilt and play on her emotions to not go through the procedure. Even though abortion is legal within limits, this extra requirement would be both medieval and insulting. Not to mention sexist: men don’t have to endure such state-sanctionned manipulation.
In Virginia, however, women may soon have to. By an 8-7 vote, the Republican-controlled Education and Health Committee has endorsed the ultrasound requirement and have sent it to the full Senate, which, thanks to the GOP’s refusal to share power, it is likely to pass, given the 20-20 imbalance of power and Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling holding the deciding vote. Ultrasound bills are being pushed by Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Fauquier County and Sen. Ralph Smith, R-Roanoke County.
What’s so utterly hypocritical of many conservatives is how they pick and chose their fights. Most of the time, they are lecturing us that we need to get government and its regulations away from people’s everyday lives. We need smaller government and should leave as much as possible to personal choice.
But not when it comes to one of the most painful and personal decisions a woman makes. Swollen with their moral authority, they want to be there, dressed in a blue hospital gown beside the doctor, laying on a profound guilt trip to an experience that is most times already wracked with grief. They are assuming that women (not men) are too stupid to understand what abortion is despite their right to one that is bound by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The General Assembly needs to keep its nose out of the doctors’ offices. It needs to respect the intelligence of women to make a choice that is legally theirs to make.