Virginia aims to become yet another state that will require women seeking abortion services to view an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion. Lawmakers in the state will decide this week whether it, like states like Texas, wishes to further make women’s bodies sites for political battles. One senator, Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), has caught some media attention in her proposal to make men’s bodies political battlegrounds, as well:
To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.
“We need some gender equity here,” she told HuffPost. “The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we’re going to do that to women, why not do that to men?”
Though proponents of this bill claim that it gives women the ability to make “informed” consent in seeking abortion services, its opponents note:
[T]he bill compels physicians to perform an unnecessary and costly medical procedure and is a thinly-veiled attempt to shame and intimidate women from having an abortion.
Unfortunately, the mandatory ultrasound bill passed in a voice vote yesterday, and the senate will formally vote at some point today. Sen. Howell’s bill was not passed, however.