Virginia Senator Tacks Rectal Exam Amendment to Anti-Abortion Bill

January 31, 2012  |  

If women have to undergo an ultrasound before receiving an abortion then men should have to receive a rectal exam and cardiac stress test before they can be prescribed erectile dysfunction medication. That was the basis of an amendment Virginia State Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) put on the table Monday to protest what’s being called “the anti-abortion bill.”

“We need some gender equity here,” she told the Huffing Post. “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?”

Unsurprisingly, Sen. Howell’s amendment did not pass, although the vote was close at 21 to 19. “This is more of a message type of an amendment, so I was pleased to get 19 votes,” Sen. Howell said, adding that she does believe erectile dysfunction is different from pregnancy in this context.

The mandatory ultrasound bill on the other hand, was approved in a voice vote and the Senate is expected to formally vote on it today. Physicians in Texas, where a similar bill has already been passed, have called the legislation a “bureaucratic nightmare,” since sonograms must be performed 24 hours before an abortion by a doctor ,rather than an ultrasound technician, causing scheduling conflicts because of the small number of  physicians willing to perform the procedure in the first place. The bill is currently being challenged in court there and Virginians are likely in for a similar battle not long from now.

What do you think about Sen. Howell’s erectile dysfunction amendment? Do you agree with this legislation requiring sonograms before abortions?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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