Not kidding. This is beyond messed up. Way over the line. What are they thinking? This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill?a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound?failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law. What?s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attention would ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn?t ?avail herself of the opportunity? to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman?s medical record. Whether she wants it there or not. I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond. 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.? Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial. Don?t even bother asking whether this law would have passed had it involved physically penetrating a man instead of a woman without consent. Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument about the obscene government overreach that is the individual mandate in President Obama?s health care law. Yet physical intrusion by government into the vagina of a pregnant woman is so urgently needed that the woman herself should be forced to pay for the privilege. The bill will undoubtedly be enacted into law by the governor, Bob McDonnell, who is gunning hard for a gig as vice president and has already indicated that he will sign the bill. ?I think it gives full information,? he said this week on WTOP radio?s ?Ask the Governor? program. ?To be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.? [link=http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/02/virginia_ultrasound_law_women_who_want_an_abortion_will_be_forcibly_penetrated_for_no_medical_reason.html]Link[/link] This is just sick. Am I misunderstanding this at all? I sincerely hope I am. This is the year 2012, the 21st century. This cannot be happening in America in this century, can it?